Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Date Started: July 20, 1980
Date Finished: July 31, 1980
Participants: 187 (96 men and 91 women) from 9 countries
Youngest Participant: Sabine Blemenschütz (15 years, 363 days)
Oldest Participant: Jarmila Králíčková (36 years, 76 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 95 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Soviet Union (2 medals)
Initially the big news in 1980 was that women’s hockey was added to the Olympic Program, alongside the men’s tournament. Women had a World Cup tournament since 1974, run by the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA). All the 1980 matches were played at Dynamo Stadium and Young Pioneers Stadium in Moskva.
However the United States-led boycott played havoc with the selection of teams for both tournaments, and led the men to play their tournament with only six teams, though they had had 11 or more since 1936. Originally the 12 men’s teams selected were the Soviet Union as host nation; New Zealand and Australia as finalists at the 1976 Olympics; the top seven teams from the 1978 World Championship (Pakistan, Netherlands, West Germany, Spain, India, Great Britain) (Australia was third but qualified as the 1976 Olympic silver medalist); Argentina as the 1979 Pan American Games Champion; Malaysia as the Asian Champion; and Kenya as the African Champion. Of those 12, only the Soviet Union, Spain, and India agreed to compete. It was difficult to find teams to fill out the field, with Poland (9th at the 1978 Worlds), Cuba (4th at the 1979 Pan American Games), and Tanzania, representing Africa, finally making up the final field of six teams. The men played a round-robin tournament with classifications matches for 1st, 3rd, and 5th. India won the gold medal, their first since 1964, by defeating Spain in the final.
The women also had six teams and also had difficulty making a field. The 1979 IFWHA World Cup was used for ranking the teams, with the Soviet Union as host, the Netherlands (1st), West Germany (2nd), United States (3rd), Great Britain (5th), and New Zealand (9th) the original selections. The reserves, and their finish at the 1979 IFWHA tournament, were Australia (4th), Argentina (10th), Japan (12th), India (13th), Belgium (3rd at 1978 World Cup), and Canada (8th at 1978 World Cup). Of these teams only the Soviet Union and India agreed to compete. The field was filled with Czechoslovakia (9th at the 1978 World Cup) and Austria (7th at the 1976 World Cup), and Poland and Zimbabwe were chosen to fill out the field, simply because they agreed to compete.
The women’s tournament was a pure round-robin with no classification or elimination matches. Zimbabwe pulled off a huge upset to win the gold, with Czechoslovakia winning silver, and the host Soviets the bronze.