Hockey, one of the oldest-known ball-and-stick games, is the theme of today’s Google Doodle, as the search giant continues its trend of revering Olympic sports on its homepage during London 2012.
According to the Olympic Movement, hockey is the oldest-known ball-and-stick game, as records exist of it being played in Persia in 2000BC. Hockey gets its name from the French word ‘hocquet’, which means shepherd’s crook. However, hurling is another game that is thought to have pre-dated Christianity in Ireland and is believed to have been connected with the game of shinty in Scotland.
In today’s Doodle, Google gives a female hockey player free reign as she gets ready to take a puck at the hockey ball, obscuring the ‘og’ in the Google logo as she moves. The letters that are left in view are “Go .. le’ possibly to allude to ‘goal’. Take what you will from today’s Doodle, but hockey has long been a popular sport to watch at the Olympics.
Hockey at the Olympics
The first men’s Olympic hockey final was played on 31 October 1908 in London, when England beat Ireland 8-1. The first women’s Olympic hockey competition was held at the Moscow 1980 Games.
At London 2012, the Games will be played outdoors in the Olympic Park at the Riverbank Arena. There is one men’s and one women’s competition at the London Games. Hockey is played by teams of 10 for women at the Olympics, while men play the game in teams of 12 at the Games. Matches last over two halves of 35 minutes each.
It was at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games that hockey was first played on artificial turf.
Up until the 1970s, hockey was always played on grass. Now matches at the top level are played on water-based synthetic-turf pitches to make the game edgier and faster.
Greeks playing hockey in 500BC, from a marble relief at the Kerameikos, Athens. This relief is held in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens