Message from Els van Breda Vriesman, FIH President and IOC Member
Action at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Copyright IOC
The Olympic Games in Beijing this year will mark a major milestone for hockey. It is exactly 100 years ago that hockey was introduced at the Olympic Games.
The London Olympics of 1908 marked the Olympic debut of our sport. It is an honour for the FIH to be on the Olympic program for a century. Not many sports are able to celebrate this milestone.
While in 1908 six men’s teams participated, the women made their first entry in 1980 with six teams participating. Hockey’s participation at the Olympic Games has since grown to 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams. For the first time in Olympic history, hockey will have the full participation of 24 teams in Beijing. The Beijing Games will be the 21st Olympic Games in which hockey will be played.
Times have changed in the past 100 years. Hockey has become a sport which in many ways is now professionally managed, although the spirit amongst the players and officials is still one of respect and fair play. It is a pleasure to see pictures and films from the past in addition to admiring hockey today, because this shows the evolution of the game over the century.
From 1 July onwards, the FIH will look back to the Olympic past. On this special page of our website, you will find several historical Olympic hockey facts. Furthermore, the FIH will have three special features at the Beijing Olympic Games: an exposition in FIH’s Hockey House in the Yanshan Hotel (FIH’s official Olympic Hotel), an Olympic Daily Newsletter in which each day one Olympic Games from the past will have a central place and we are currently part of a special travelling exhibition of the Olympic Museum all over China.
Visitors to the WorldHockey website can also participate in the celebration. Each week from 1 July until 23 August, which is the final day of the Olympic hockey tournament, a historical question about hockey at the Olympics will appear at www.worldhockey.org. Participants can win special hockey prizes of our partner TK with this competition.
I would like to congratulate the sport of hockey and the entire hockey family for celebrating 100 Years at the Olympic Games.
Els van Breda Vriesman
FIH President and IOC Member