Introduction to Olympic Hockey

Hockey | Published: Fri 5 August 2016

Who: 432 athletes from 16 countries

What: Men’s and women’s tournaments

Where: Olympic Hockey Centre

When: Days 1-14



Hockey combines pace, skill and teamwork in a high-intensity contest that is regarded as one of the top team-sport drawcard at each Olympic Games.


Two teams of 11 players, face-off over 60minutes (15min quarters) with the key objective, to outscore your opponents.


Goals can only be scored from inside the semi-circle at either end of the pitch, with shots from outside this area, requiring a touch or deflection once inside the circle to be considered legal.


Both teams sport 10 outfield players with a goal keeper, wearing protective padding, defending the last line. Goal Keepers are the only players permitted to touch the ball with their body. All outfielders must use the open faced-side of their hockey stick, to control, dribble, pass and shoot.


Fouls committed within the circle, are penalised with the award with a penalty corner, allowing the attacking team to inject the ball from the baseline to the outer edge of the circle, where it can then be re-entered, for a strike on goal.


Hockey has been an Olympic sport since 1908 (London) with India’s men’s team once recording a 32 year stranglehold of the Olympic gold medal, until rivals Pakistan broke their sequence by claiming gold in Rome 1960.


Women’s hockey entered in Moscow 1980 – with Zimbabwe claiming the first ever gold medal. Many countries – Australia included – didn’t compete at this edition due to a political boycott.


Australia has won gold in both men’s and women’s competition previously, with the men heading into Rio as the gold medal favourites. They’ve earned bronze in the two most recent editions at Olympic level, but are ranked world number one in Brazil, having won the most recent World Cup.


The women’s team are eyeing their first Olympic medal since they claimed gold at Sydney 2000. The Netherlands and Argentina remain the Hockeyroos’ sternest challenge to Rio success.



Three Western Australian athletes will be in action in Brazil, with the Kookaburras fielding triple Olympian Fergus Kavanagh and debutant Aran Zalewski, whilst Kathryn Slattery is the sole WA rep for the Hockeyroos.


To follow WA’s hockey athletes in Rio, view their bios below, including information on when they’re in action in Brazil.


Fergus Kavanagh


Aran Zalewski


Kathryn Slattery