Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: July 29, 2012
Date Finished: August 11, 2012
Participants: 389 (196 men and 193 women) from 15 countries
Youngest Participant: Muhammad Tousiq (17 years, 207 days)
Oldest Participant: Akemi Kato (41 years, 229 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 96 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Netherlands (2 medals)
The most noticeable change at the 2012 Olympic hockey tournament was the color of the pitch in the Riverbank Arena, where all matches were held. In an attempt to make the sport easier to follow on televion, all matches were played with a pink ball on a blue pitch - quickly dubbed "smurf turf." Additionally, there were two noteworthy changes in the rules. The green card, previously only serving as a warning, now meant players were sent to the sin bin for 2 minutes. Also, in the knock-out phase, penalty strokes were replaced with a penalty shoot-out. Similar to the procedure in ice hockey, each player has 8 seconds to score a goal, starting from the 23 metre line.
The tournament format remained the same as before, with 12 nations playing round-robin pools followed by semi-finals and a final. The women's tournament saw the début of Belgium, while India returned to the men's tournament after its shameful absence in 2008. The participation of both South African teams was remarkable: both teams had won the African Qualification Tournament, but the South African NOC had deemed the opposition insufficient and wanted the teams to qualify via one of the Olympic Qualification Tournaments; both eventually succeeded in doing so.