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Does hockey line up with the Olympic cycle?

The Kookaburras did not do as well as Australia had hoped. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Roar Guru
25th August, 2016
1

There has been a lot of talk recently about the amount of funding that goes into elite sport, with hockey coping it as a team sport that delivered disappointing results at the Rio Olympics.

However, I would pose the question, does the current timing of major tournaments line up with the Olympic cycle?

For the representative teams, both Kookaburras (men’s team) and Hockeyroos (women’s team) play for Olympic gold every four years. For most team sports that are played at the Olympics, this would be considered the pinnacle.

However, there are also the Commonwealth games and the World Cup, which are both played in the same year in a four-year cycle.

For good measure, you can throw in the Champions Trophy tournament that is held annually (recently changed to a biennial) event, and that five major tournaments both teams will play in during what would be considered an ‘Olympic Cycle’.

This excludes international friendlies that are also played between tournaments, and also excludes indoor hockey that Australia sends representative teams for.

In the 2012-2016 cycle (Kookaburras):
– Bronze Medal London Olympics
– Won Champions Trophy twice (2012 and 2016)
– Third place Champion Trophy (2014)
– gold medal Commonwealth Games (2014)
– Won World Cup (2014)
– Quarter final Rio 2016 Games

The Hockeyroos in the same cycle:
– Fifth London Olympics
– Silver Medal Champions Trophy (2014)
– Fourth Place Champions Trophy (2016)
– Silver Medal World Cup (2014)
– gold medal Commonwealth Games (2014)
– Quarter final Rio 2016 Games

A lot is said in the media, that hockey receives 25.2 million dollars in funding for that four-year cycle. For a sport that has a squad of 16-18 players at a major tournament, that really isn’t that much money. The funding includes a World Cup campaign that saw both teams in the final, two commonwealth gold medals, and three appearances each at the Champions Trophy tournament.

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This doesn’t even include the international friendlies played throughout the cycle, or the training camps held throughout the four year period.

Hockey is a unique sport in the ‘return on investment’ argument, because the team as a whole only contributes one medal to the tally. Similar to the rugby sevens, and the Matildas where an entire tournament is played to contribute only one medal.

The return on investment argument falls over in a sense, when you look at participation rates that increase for sports that are at the Olympics. Focusing specifically at hockey, having representative teams that can compete does wonders for the sport. And as stated earlier, not just at the Olympic tournament, but the other major tournaments along the way.

Mourn the disappointment of not winning this tournament, and get back on the pitch for the next one. The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games tournament is in April, Champions Trophy in Amsterdam in June and 2018 World Cup is held in July 2018 in London for the Women and India for the Men.

There are exciting times ahead for both the Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos.