A view of the Olympics…

Well, we’re right into the thick of the Olympic hockey tournaments and there’s been plenty going on and plenty to talk about.

Whilst my work commitments on other sports prevent me from providing the level of coverage I’d like to, this is a hockey site and it would be odd for me, a hockey obsessive not to do something about the biggest tournament in world hockey.

With that in mind, here’s part one of a series of, well, as many as I can fit in, of things I’ve seen that I found interesting. Enjoy.

Home Hockey Hubs.

Due to the current restrictions, this is an Olympics like no other. Everyone involved has had to adapt to the “new normal” and find a way of keeping up with the action from home rather than being one of the lucky people normally inside the stadium. Apart from a select few, those in the media are no different. However, as BBC Radio 5live’s Sara Orchard has shown, having a home hockey hub is no bad thing.

Stephen Findlater, the Comms and Media Supremo for the Irish team also has a cracking little set up in his home.

Róisín on the scene for the Green (army.)

Speaking of Ireland’s hockey team. It’s absolutely fantastic to see their women’s side continue to do what they do.

After their fairy tale silver medal in the World Cup, they’ve continued making their own history, this time representing their country at an Olympics for the first time.

Róisín Upton got them there with nerves of steel in the qualifiers and so it was somewhat fitting that she had the honour of scoring their first Olympic goal. Lovely.


There was something slightly un-Olympic about Lucas Rossi’s conduct at the end of the game between Argentina and Spain. As the BBC tweeted, he thought it’d be ok to, ahem, give David Alegre a bit of stick.

No punishment was initially forthcoming but he was later given a one-match ban. Quite right too.

In the interests of balance…

As we’re talking about the BBC, in the interests of balance, Argentina have contributed a positive to this tournament too. Nico Keenan produced an absolute worldy of a goal. ¡Estupendo!

Brotherly love.

Chris Griffiths is playing in his first Olympics. He’s overcome plenty of injury setbacks to get there and is rightly proud of what he’s achieved. That doesn’t stop his brother taking the opportunity to have some fun at his expense. What are siblings for?

Speaking of setbacks….

Yep. You’ve guessed it. I will of course take every opportunity to bring up Sam Ward and how incredible his journey is.
I’d already done a piece on him for BBC Sport and as he’s someone I have a hell of a lot of time for, I was delighted when he popped up with GB’s first goal of the tournament in their opener against South Africa. Just being there is an absolute triumph. Continuing to excel is bloody brilliant.

Celebrity fans.

The Olympics is always the time when celebrities start jumping on the bandwagon of new sports and hockey is no exception. We’ve seen Rob and Romesh have a crack at playing in goal already.
Jordan North of BBC Radio One and I’m a Celebrity has also donned the kit for a try between the sticks.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that not only is he repping Mercian Hockey kit (yep) it’s actually my Mercian Hockey kit. I guess that makes me famous now. Perhaps not.

He’s not the only celebrity adopting hockey early doors, though. Reverend Richard Coles, of (among other things) Communards fame (ask your parents) has already tweeted about how underrated hockey is as a sport. You’re preaching to the choir, man. (Sorry.)

And finally….

I know the temptation is there to get bent out of shape over Discovery swiping the rights from the BBC and not being able to watch things the way you’re used to. But, as my friends at the Reverse Stick rightly point out, this is our window to showcase our wonderful sport to our friends and families. Don’t focus on the negative, spread the word!

There you go. If you spot anything that should be included in one of these pieces, feel free to tweet me and let me know. I’ll post another one of these as and when I have time!

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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