By Phil Hecken
Continuing the look at Olympic sports uniforms, today’s Olympic Correspondent is one of the oldest and truest members of Uni Watch, and the President of the Hockey Wing, the man we all know as “Teebz”. You know Teebz for his occasional featured articles on UW, always dealing with hockey — and today is no exception — except this hockey isn’t played on ice, but on a “field.”
What you’re aboot to read is thoroughly researched and quite in-depth — so I’ll quit my yakkin’ right here, and turn the remainder of the lede over to the man who lives and breathes hockey…
Field Hockey at the Olympics
Field hockey has been played at the Olympics since 1908, but the women didn’t get an event until 1980 in Moscow. Since that time, the women have actually become, in my opinion, better players than the men as they combine grace and power on the pitch. Today, we’ll take a look at the women’s side of the competition in London.
There is one notable team that did not qualify for the London Olympic Games, and we’ll look at that fact towards the end of this article. In saying that, one surprise team made it in, and we’ll see if that team has the momentum and/or the firepower to carry them into the medal round. In any case, here are the twelve women’s teams that qualified for the 2012 London Olympiad.
GREAT BRITAIN: The three countries of England, Scotland, and Wales will join forces in trying to secure the gold medal on home soil. The British women have only participated in four of the five tournaments, and they have just one medal to show for their efforts. Since 2000, they have not finished higher than sixth-place, so the British women may find themselves in tough against some of the more experienced teams. They need a boost from the home crowd if they want to find their way onto the podium.
Colors: red, white, and blue.
Medals: 1 bronze.
FIH World Ranking: n/a (England – 4th, Scotland – 18th, Wales – 27th).
CHINA: The 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China saw the home nation qualify for the Olympics in November 2010. The Chinese women only began playing field hockey on the Olympic stage in 2008 in Beijing, but it was a successful debut as they came away with the silver medal. The Chinese play a very structured and sound game defensively, and capitalize on chances when they are presented. While they may not be a medal favorite, the Chinese could prove dangerous in London.
Colors: red, white.
Medals: 1 silver.
FIH World Ranking: 5th.
KOREA: The Korean women’s team hails from South Korea. The Korean women also qualified at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, and they were the first team to qualify that had participated in every Olympiad since 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. Like the Chinese team, the Koreans play very composed in the defensive zone, and capitalize on chances when presented. Since 2000, however, the Koreans have seen some poor Olympic showings as they have finished no higher than seventh-place. They’ll be looking to improve on that standing in London.
Colors: red, blue, white.
Medals: 2 silvers.
FIH World Ranking: 8th.
NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands were the first European team to qualify through the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championship in Mönchengladbach, Germany in August 2011. The Dutch women are simply one of the best squads on the planet. They score, they can defend, they move the ball well, and they look poised to add another medal to their impressive Olympic haul. Since the 1984 Olympiad in Los Angeles, the Netherlands has only missed the podium once. That kind of execution can’t be overlooked in London.
Colors: orange, white, navy blue.
Medals: 2 gold (1984, 2008), 1 silver, 3 bronze.
FIH World Ranking: 1st.
GERMANY: The German women are mainstays in the women’s tournament, but they tend to rise to the occasion before taking steps back. They have won a medal three times, but have missed the podium four other times, finishing from fourth-place to seventh-place. While wildly inconsistent in their finishes, it’s hard to determine which German team will show up in London. However, if they play as well as they did in qualifying through the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championship, the podium may not be out of their reach.
Colors: red, black, yellow.
Medals: 1 gold (2004), 2 silver.
FIH World Ranking: 3rd.
NEW ZEALAND: The New Zealand women were one of the earliest teams to qualify in 2011, but they couldn’t actually claim their berth in the tournament without playing the games in the 2011 Oceania Cup in Hobart, Australia in October 2011. After Fiji dropped out due to financial difficulties, only two teams remained from the Oceania region, giving the “Black Sticks” one of the two spots. New Zealand won the Oceania Cup, and they look to build on that win going into the London Olympics. The Black Sticks have never finished higher than sixth-place in the Olympics, so they’ll need to work hard to move past that ranking this time.
Colors: black, gray, white.
FIH World Ranking: 6th.
AUSTRALIA: The “Hockeyroos” have consistently been one of the better teams in women’s field hockey, but they have been caught by a couple of countries. The Hockeyroos qualified through the 2011 Oceania Cup in Hobart, Australia in October 2011. It’s feast or famine for the Hockeyroos at the Olympics – gold or nothing. That being said, I can’t see the Australians moving on with the way their season has gone. Unless the Hockeyroos show up and play inspired, the famine will continue for the Australian women at the Olympics.
Colors: yellow, green, brown.
Medals: 3 gold (1988, 1996, 2000).
FIH World Ranking: 7th.
UNITED STATES: The US women qualified by winning the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October 2011. The American women might be in over their heads in London. This is the first time they have qualified for the Olympics, and is only the second time they will participate. They have won medals in lesser competitions, but they will be overwhelmed in London unless they play some incredible hockey. I just don’t see that happening with the teams that have qualified for the London Olympic Games.
Colors: blue, red, white.
Medals: 1 bronze.
FIH World Ranking: 10th.
SOUTH AFRICA: The South African women qualified by winning the first Olympic Qualification Tournament in New Delhi, India in February 2012. The South African women had actually qualified earlier by winning the 2011 African Olympic Qualifier in September 2011, but they felt they needed to qualify against more challenging opponents and actually rejected the Olympic spot at that time. In New Delhi, they certainly proved they deserved a spot in the Olympics. In London, though, they may be overwhelmed as they have only participated in the last three Olympiads, and have finished no higher than ninth-place. There may be room for improvement, but a podium finish seems impossible.
Colors: green, yellow.
FIH World Ranking: 12th.
BELGIUM: The Belgian women pulled off a stunning upset in the second Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kontich, Belgium in March 2012. Belgium defeated 11th-ranked Spain by a 1-0 score on a goal in the second minute of the match, and then held on to finish atop the standings to qualify for their first Olympic competition by outscoring Ireland in the goal differential by 21-13 margin. Belgium is certainly an underdog going into these Olympic Games, but they proved that they can defeat some of the higher-ranked teams. Medals are doubtful, but an upset or two will help to promote the sport within Belgium’s borders.
Colors: red, black, white, yellow.
FIH World Ranking: 16th.
JAPAN: The third Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kakamigahara, Japan in May 2012 was won by Japan. The Japanese women are in tough in London, having only qualified for the Olympic competition twice before. They finished eighth-place and tenth-place in their previous two tournaments, so there is hope the team will finish in a higher standing this time. However, a medal is certainly out of reach for this emerging squad in London.
Colors: red, white, light blue, blue.
FIH World Ranking: 9th.
ARGENTINA: The Argentinian women made it in due to South Africa winning a spot in the qualification tournament in February. Argentina is a powerful team with many prominent stars from their club league in Argentina. The team is nicknamed “Las Leonas” – the Lionesses – and they tend to play as aggressively as the animal they are named is when hunting. Argentina will certainly be a medal favorite after being accepted into the tournament based on their world ranking.
Colors: light blue, white, black, blue.
Medals: 1 silver, 2 bronze.
FIH World Ranking: 2nd.
Pool A will feature the Netherlands, Great Britain, China, Korea, Japan, and Belgium. In looking at this pool, it seems almost elementary that the Netherlands and Great Britain will emerge as the top-two teams. China and Korea could cause some problems, but I expect the Dutch and British ladies to advance to the medal round.
Pool B sees Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and South Africa do battle. There are a number of good teams in this pool, but it seems realistic that Argentina and Germany would advance from these teams. New Zealand and Australia will most likely be the challengers to a spot, but I can’t see them knocking off one of Argentina or Germany.
There are your twelve teams that will play in London as part of the women’s field hockey event. There are some excellent teams in this event, and I really hope Canadian broadcasters and/or American broadcasters show this event. While it may not be appealing to most at first, the game is actually quite exciting! Here’s hoping you can catch a game or two!
Wow. Thanks Teebz. Awesome job.
This section will feature updates, lesser news, and reader submissions from the XXXth Olympiad — keep the Olympic news coming in! (Usually in the order in which I receive them — think of it as an “Olympics Ticker”.)
More observations from Uni Watch faithful, and a scandal to rival the Black Sox:
* “Ahead of the August 5 men’s 100m final at the London 2012 Games, Tyson Gay will be wearing a pair of patriotic adizero Prime SPs, personalized with an American flag-inspired design and his daughter’s name, Trinity, embroidered on the tongue.” (Margaret Bourne)
* “Just a thought re. the backwards flags on some US swimmers’ caps: are they reversed for a backstroke race, when the swimmer is facing the other direction? I don’t know the answer, so obviously more research is needed. Scott mentions Missy Franklin specifically, and two of her four individual races are backstroke. Here’s Missy after the 100m backstroke (with “backwards” flag). And here she is (scroll down to third photo in the article) after the 200m freestyle (with “correct” flag). Obviously, this doesn’t mean that all the swimmers have had it right for every race, and I’ll keep watching for it, but at least it shows that my theory might be correct.” (Matthew Walthert)
* Here’s a great parody ad for Olympic sponsors. (Adam Walter)
#NoUniAds Campaign…Day 14
This will be a regular feature on Uni Watch until the NBA rescinds its incredibly offensive and stupid proposal to place corporate advertising on uniforms.
And now, a personal note from Paul:
It’s important that we keep making our voices heard: Call the NBA’s publicly listed phone number (212-407-8000), ask for Adam Silver’s and/or David Stern’s office), e-mail deputy commissioner Adam Silver at his his publicly listed address (email@example.com), and tweet to @NBA with the hashtag #NoUniAds. Do it now.
More of your letters to the NBA
I am an 18 year old NBA fan who has followed the league since 2005. When I heard that the NBA was planning on putting ads on uniforms, I was very upset.
I know that the economy is horrible, and any source of revenue will aid the bottom line, but for the love of God, is nothing sacred?
Let me explain. I’m sure you’ve heard this before many times. Imagine a team like the Lakers, who have practically worn the same jersey, albeit with a few changes, suddenly prancing onto the court with a Farmers insurance logo above the heart.
Aside from the revenue, what is this going to accomplish? Are you expecting us to drop whatever we’re doing and sign up for a policy? No! What you would be doing is offending a lot of fans.
You will lose jersey sales, public opinion will continue to go against you (not that it’s been positive as of late) and the league’s reputation will take a fall. You might as well have another lockout.
I implore you to listen to us, the fans. Put yourself in our position. Think about the people you serve. You were a child once, would you want to see your heroes suddenly sell out for a few extra bucks?
Just keep this in mind, when it comes to running a business, the customer is always right. By allowing ads on uniforms, you will violate that rule and will be in a worse position that you were before.
I am a 34-year old Chicago Bulls fan & I am greatly displeased that the NBA is thinking about putting advertisements on the uniforms. Putting ads on uniforms looks very European; very Minor League; very Little League because that is who has ads on their uniforms. Not only is it ugly, it looks obscene and tacky & it cheapens the sport to the point that it looks like it is extremely poor and vastly underfunded.
If ads on uniforms comes to light, not only will I stop buying NBA merchandise, I will stop watching the NBA altogether and actively boycott whomever sponsor appears on a Bulls jersey. You can not possibly think advertisements on uniforms is good for the parity of the sport. In fact it will do the exact opposite: there is no way small market teams like the Bucks or Grizzlies can get deals anywhere close to the Lakers, Knicks, Heat, etc. Even if ad revenues were put into a pool & evenly distributed, it still looks tacky & like a two-bit chump league.
Worst of all, it comes off as GREEDY. Not everything is for sale & every single space does not need advertising. If the NBA needs the money so badly, then stop paying the players so much salary.
I have just heard that the NBA is planning to introduce ads on game jerseys for next year. Fans are already subjected to the ridiculousness of the BMO Harris Bradley Center and Time Warner Cable Arena. Please do not ruin the jerseys, too. Fans want to buy jerseys to support their teams…not to be walking billboards for international corporations.
Thank you for your consideration.
Thanks for keeping the faith readers! We can stop the NBA if we can keep up the pressure.
Thanks to Tim E. O’Brien and Chris Giorgio for the image in the upper right of this section!
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
Bet you really hope the next line isn’t, “Whatever you say, deer”…
Click to enlarge
Uni Watch News Ticker: Kicking the ticker off today (pun firmly intended) is our
soccer football correspondent, George Chilvers, who lets us know Wigan Athletic has a new third kit. What? … Joel Manuel notes a “report aired on the local Baton Rouge news last night. Apparently some parents bought uniforms for the upcoming school year “too early,” because the schools then changed their logos, and some of the parents can’t return the old polos, and can’t afford new ones. An update said the kids would be allowed to wear either logo-less shirts or the old logos.” … Chris Mahr thinks Penn State changing unis would be a huge mistake. He also thinks it’s time for Pitt to revive their old logo. … The National Hockey League and Quiksilver have entered into a multiyear merchandising partnership for “co-branded NHL boardshorts” (whatever that means). … The photo is a ways down on this blog, but Reds prospect Didi Gregorius apparently was wearing a sticker on the underside of his cap bill (thanks to Brice Wallace). … The Dunedin Blue Jays (Class A-Advanced affiliate of Toronto Blue Jays) had a throwback game last weekend. Here are some photos. Many done with sepia tone or black and white, but some full color as well. They turned out beautifully (hat tip to Nate Kurant). … According to Leo Strawn, “The USA Freedom (womens national squad) and USA Revolution (mens national squad) will be playing their Canadian national squad Australian Rules Football counterparts (womens – Northern Lights, mens – Northwind) this year in Dublin (Columbus), Ohio on Saturday, August 4. The annual match is known as the 49th Parallel Cup. Both the Freedom (with Lady Liberty on the front) and the Revolution (with Eagle) will be sporting new jumpers.” … John Romero found a bunch of these new Manning jerseys at Invesco (I still call it Mile High) at the Broncos team store. Authentic Reebok Manning jerseys. Hmmmm. … Jordan Woodson has another UNC equipment segment, “This time, an article from InsideCarolina regarding the equipment staff’s prep for the season – this time, the shoes.” … Clint Richardson thinks this football practice is taking ‘biker shorts’ “to a whole new level!” I would agree. … Louis DeGeorge found a “ticker-worthy picture of Andre Reed wearing, of all things, a Miami Dolphins t-shirt. Maybe this was at the Pro Bowl and he lost a bet or something?” Readers, any ideas? … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: pretty amusing article on college football uniforms. … Also from the comments, this gallery of patent drawings at wired.com features some real beauties, including a football helmet with face guard. … Good question from Nick Orban, who writes, “The Nationals were in their All-American uniforms (the navy with the America flag inside the curly W) last night. Am I completely unamerican, or am I forgetting an significant American date?” Anyone? … Ladies & Gentlemen, your 2012 Army Home Uniform. … Jose Coria thought it was amusing Tuesday that the SFGiants were already advertising Hunter Pence’s jersey for sale before he even arrived at the park! As fate would have it, Hunter requested 7, 8, or 39, and it’s now been confirmed that he will be wearing #8, not #2. Oops! … David Greenwald saw Mark Sanchez, who is a man of many hats, sporting a new one at the start of training camp. Here is a still image link to it and it shows up again in the Jets’ team video (NYJets). … This one time, Dustin Semore was at band camp…and well: “With the new football uniforms: the Famous Maroon Band (of which I am an alum) have new uniforms as well. To be worn with maroon pants.” … During the last two games, recently acquired Reed Johnson (#11) has been borrowing Dan Uggla’s (#26) shoes – and wearing stirrups, nonetheless! Since the Cubs wear blue shoes and the Braves wear black, he has to wait for his new stock to arrive (thanks to Jim Misudek). … Looks as though the Maple Leafs are reaching back to their earliest years for a jersey to be worn at the Bridgestone Winter Classic next season (from John Muir). Flyin’ Hawaiian: Ryan DeFilippi found a picture of outfielder Shane Victorino, who was traded yesterday from the Phillies to the Dodgers. In the picture, Victorino is still using his red Phillies batting gloves instead of blue Dodger ones. … “What genius! What dedication!” exclaims Marc Bauche. Why so exuberant? He observed a Japanese photographer shooting Ichiro, and “noticed that he had the game box-score taped around the lens of his back-up camera. The lens of his back-up camera was so huge, he had the full letter-size sheet stuck on there. And he had even been keeping score with every at-bat!!!!” … Lest we forget, the team that currently plays its baseball in Warshington was born in Montreal. Guinness Rider says, “Dunno but this guy’s personal collection is nuts.”
That’s it for this fine Thursday. Thanks to Teebz and all the fine Uni Watch readers and commenters, and especially all those of you who have taken up the #NoUniAds cause. We will stop this. Back tomorrow with Morris Levin and another outstanding article. Till then, cheers!
“When my oldest kid was in Boy Scouts, the Scoutmaster got the brilliant idea to hold a Flag Retirement Ceremony on the 4th of July…as horrified passersby who weren’t familiar with flag etiquette looked on, we burned those flags, one by one. On the 4th of July.”