An 11-a-side sport that is the rough equivalent of soccer with sticks, hockey demands speed, skill and creativity.
No country has dominated men's hockey at the Games since India's run of six consecutive gold medals ended in 1956. In fact, the last six tournaments have produced six different champions. Only the Australian Hockeyroos, defending champions in Sydney, have managed to win twice.
Spearheaded by the 1999 International Player of the Year, Stephan Veen, defending champions the Netherlands are favorites. Among the 11 challengers in Sydney, four stand out: Germany, Spain, Pakistan and Australia.
Can anyone stop Australia? A few months ago hockey insiders were saying no. Now they're not so sure. The Hockeyroos faltered in June, when they lost a big tournament for the first time since the early '90s. The Netherlands are the strongest of a remarkably even second tier that includes Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand and Korea.
WHEN TO WATCH
- Men's final Sept. 30
- Women's final Sept. 29