Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Alonzo Herndon Stadium, Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Georgia; Panther Stadium, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: August 2, 1996
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification round matches.
The Dutch had been a force in field hockey since the 1928 Olympics, winning the World Championships on two occasions. However, by 1996 they had never won an Olympic title had lost their last four Olympic semi-finals, having to settle for 3rd or 4th. In recent years, they had bad luck in major events, giving away leads in the finals of the 1994 World Championships and 1995 European Championships. In Atlanta, the Dutch reached their first Olympic final in 44 years, beating archrivals Germany thanks to three goals by [Taco van den Honert]. The other contender for the gold medal turned out to be Spain. This was a major surprise as they had only placed 9th at the 1994 World Championships. Wins over Germany and Australia made them deserved finalists.
Spain even took the lead in the final through star player [VÃctor Pujol]. This unleashed the Dutch, and specialist [Floris Jan Bovelander] pushed two penalty corners behind the Spanish goalkeeper. The victory was sealed shortly before full time, with a third penalty corner goal by [Bram Lomans]. The medals were presented by IOC president [Juan Antonio Samaranch], himself a former roller hockey player, who had hoped to award the gold to his countrymen. Dutch prime minister Wim Kok, in attendance, commented )we'll gladly leave the silver fleet to the Spanish), referring to the 1628 capture of a Spanish treasure fleet by Dutch privateer Piet Hein.