On the fifth day of the London 2012 Olympics, Google posted a new sport-specific doodle dedicated to hockey, that also happens to be India’s National Game. Here are the top 10 interesting facts about the doodle and London 2012 Hockey events that you should know:
1. The doodle features a female player, holding a hook-shaped stick, playing on a hockey pitch. The doodle looks simple; neither the letter ‘L’ of Google has been replaced with the hockey stick nor the two Os of ‘Google’ have been replaced with balls. However, the doodle features a ball on the pitch. The six letters of Google are placed near the boundary, with second ‘O’ and third ‘G’ hidden behind the player.
2. The London 2012 Hockey doodle is the sixth doodle posted by Google during the ongoing London 2012 Olympics.
3. Wednesday’s doodle is the first ever field hockey doodle posted by Google. Google had earlier posted three ice hockey doodles during the Winter Olympic Games – the first was during the Salt Lake City Olympics 2002, the second during the 2006 Torino Olympic Games and the third Ice Hockey doodle was put up during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
4. The hockey events at London 2012 Olympics are scheduled from 29 July to 11 August. For the first time ever at the Olympic Games, the London 2012 hockey pitch is blue, rather than green.
5. There are two hockey events – one men’s and one women’s competition. The number of participants in Hockey events are 192 men and 192 women, i.e., twelve men’s and 12 women’s teams, with 16 athletes (11 players and five substitutes) on each team. Each country is limited to one men’s and one women’s team.
6. At London 2012, both the men’s and women’s hockey competitions begin with a preliminary phase – the 12 teams in each competition are divided into two pools of six, and each team plays every other in their pool. The top two teams in each pool qualify for the semi-finals, the winners of which go head-to-head for the gold. The other teams in the two groups play each other to determine final placings.
7. All matches will be played at the brand-new Riverbank Arena in the Olympic Park. This sport is a long-time Olympic favourite, offering non-stop action over 14 days of competition.
8. The hockey pitches are 91.4 metres long and 55 metres wide. The goals at each end are 3.66 metres wide and 2.14 metres high. Each goal is surrounded by a D-shaped shooting circle. The penalty spot at either end is 6.4 metres from the goal.
9. Until the 1970s, hockey was always played on grass. However, top-level matches, including those at London 2012, now take place on water-based synthetic-turf pitches, which allow the ball to roll more smoothly and quickly.
10. Men’s Hockey made its debut at the London 1908 Games. The first women’s Olympic Hockey competition was held at the Moscow 1980 Games.