Host City: Atlanta, United States
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: August 2, 1996
Participants: 320 (192 men and 128 women) from 12 countries
Youngest Participant: Pol Amat (18 years, 33 days)
Oldest Participant: Volker Fried (35 years, 170 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 96 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Australia and Netherlands (2 medals)
The 1996 Olympic hockey matches were played at two college stadiums in Atlanta – the Herndon Stadium at Clark Atlanta University, and Panther Stadium at Morris Brown College. The men’s format was the same as at recent Games with 12 teams separated into two groups of six teams, with the top two teams in each advancing to the semi-finals after playing a round-robin. The women’s tournament was changed. There were still eight teams but they were not separated into groups and instead played one large round-robin tournament with the top two teams advancing to the gold medal match, and the 3rd- and 4th-ranked teams playing for the bronze medal.
The 12 men’s teams qualified as follows – the United States as the host nation; Germany as the defending champion; Korea (South) as the 1994 Asian Games champion; Pakistan as the 1994 Hockey World Cup Champion; Argentina as the 1996 Pan American Games champion; Australia as the 1995 Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament champion; South Africa as the 1995 All-Africa Games champion; and the top five teams from the 1996 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Netherlands, India, Great Britain, Spain, Malaysia). The 1995 EuroHockey champion was also supposed to qualify but that was also Germany, so the extra spot was added to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The eight women’s teams qualified as follows – the United States as the host nation; Spain the defending Olympic champion; Australia as the 1994 Hockey World Cup champion; and the top five teams from the 1995 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Korea [South], Great Britain, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands).
The Netherlands won the men’s tournament, defeating Spain in the final, with Australia winning the bronze medal. The Australian Hockaroos won the women’s gold medal, beating Korea in the final, as the Netherlands won the women’s bronze.