Field hockey is popular across the globe, with more than 30 countries participating in the recent Olympic Games. It is a fast-paced game and full of quick twists and turns, things that have made it popular among the masses. The modern version of field hockey started in the early nineteenth century in England and since then, it has spread to the rest of the world. If you are a fan of field hockey, here are some interesting facts about the game that will amaze you.
Celebrity sport: Field hockey appears to be the game of choice for top celebrities. Well, at least it was before these individuals achieved professional success and became a celebrity. Examples would include Heath Ledger, Kate Middleton, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Lawrence, all of whom had played hockey.
Huge fan following: Hockey attracts spectators by the millions, especially when top teams compete at prestigious events. Reports indicate that hockey attracted the third largest numbers of spectators at the London 2012 Olympics. Hockey provides a huge adrenalin rush that spectators crave.
Fastest swing speed: Speed guns have revealed that the swing speed of hockey players is the fastest of any sport. At 103 miles per hour, this is as fast as any game can be. It also makes hockey a dangerous game, prone to causing injuries from the stick and ball.
Shinty: This was the original game which provided the inspiration for modern day field hockey. Shinty originated in Scotland and is still played in the Scottish Highlands.
Next only to Football: The most played game in the world is obviously football/soccer, but the next in the list is none other than hockey. Yes, hockey is the second most played sport in the world.
A 3000 year old game: Some historians believe that hockey was played as early as 3 millennia back. Evidence to this is available in a Greek Relief of 510 BC, which depicts people playing a game that looks similar to hockey. However, the topic is debatable and not all historians believe in this.
Role of British army: The credit for making the game of hockey popular across the globe goes to the British army. Wherever they went, they took the game with them and played it, which eventually popularized hockey in various countries such as Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, etc.
Global footprint: Hockey is like a multinational company, as it is played in more than 100 countries across the globe.
Women’s hockey gained entry to the Olympics in 1980 and the first team to win an Olympic gold medal was Zimbabwe in 1980.
India Tops the list: India has won the most gold medals in hockey at the Olympics. It was once a dominant team, having won 8 Olympic gold medals from 1928 to 1980. India is the only country to have won 5 consecutive Olympic gold medals in hockey.