The Netherlands field hockey team will be hoping to win a third Olympic gold medal in a row; if they do, it’ll probably be thanks to star player Ellen Hoog
No European nation takes field hockey more seriously than the Dutch, and they are likely to be favourites for the Olympic Woman’s Gold. If you bet on sports in the Netherlands, this is likely to be one of the events at Rio you will anticipate with the most fervour.
The Dutch women first won gold at the second Olympics to include women’s field hockey: 1984 in Los Angeles. They then came third in three of the next four Olympics, before rising to second at Athens in 2004. Since then, at Beijing and London, they have triumphed: can they do it a third time in a row?
Can Ellen Hoog lead the Netherlands to gold?
The Dutch team is filled with stars. They feature the top scorer from the 2010 ad 2014 Hockey world cups, Maartje Paumen, who won the World Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012. World Young player of the year 2013, Maria Verschoor, will also feature in attack. Their goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek has been the international young player of the year for the last two seasons. And, skilful attacker Lidewij Welten was awarded the best player in the world last year!
However, Ellen Hoog may be the most noticeable face in the Dutch field hockey team. She was named world women’s player of the year in 2014, as well of player of the tournament at the 2014 World Cup. In the 2012 semi-final, she became the first women to win a penalty shootout at a major championship. She is a leader in midfield, and her versatility and experience will be vital if the Netherlands are to win.
Dutch hockey team attracted another sort of attention at London 2012
In 2012, the Dutch women received notoriety by being voting the most attractive team at the games. While many saw this as sexist objectification, Sports Illustrated model Ellen Hoog wasn’ bothered: “I think it’s nice when people say we are a good-looking team, but in the end we want to win gold medals”. She continued, “ If that’s the reason why people are going to watch more hockey then I think it’s perfectly fine!”.
Hoog has certainly gained notoriety from her looks; as well as featuring in Sports illustrated she was called hockey’s “No. 1 pin-up girl” by CNN. However, photos of Ellen Hoog mean less to her than success on the pitch: “I like modelling”, she told CNN, “but I like hockey more”. Online sportsbooks will likely have the Netherlands as favourites to win, and bet on Ellen Hoog to play a big part in their victory if they do.