Get Inspired: HOCKEY
Hockey was first introduced to the Olympic Games in London in 1908.
More than a century on, the sport is in very good health; a total of 630,000 spectators saw live hockey at the 2012 Games, with every match a sell-out.
Mel Clewlow, BBC Sport
"New rule changes mean the game is quicker, more goals are being scored, skill levels are massively improved and it's much easier to watch."
The British men have won Olympic gold on three occasions, in front of home fans at the inaugural Olympic hockey tournament in 1908, again in Antwerp in 1920 and more recently at the Olympics in Seoul 1988. The women came close in 2012 with bronze.
Why is it good for you?
Hockey is a high-energy sport that improves players' pace, agility and lower body strength. As it requires constant movement, you can burn approximately 560 calories per game.
As a vigorous form of cardiovascular exercise it increases lung capacity, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to the organs in the body.
The effort of using a hockey stick strengthens the triceps, forearm and shoulder muscles, while the dynamic movement required to get across the pitch boosts the hamstring and calf muscles.
As hockey is a team game, it is an excellent way to develop communication skills and learn to work effectively with other people.
Clubs also offer a variety of social events beyond simply playing the sport.
Hockey is a fast and exciting team sport played by more than 100,000 people in the United Kingdom.
For those wanting to play the game, it is vital to buy your own gum shield and shin pads to ensure safety. It is worth checking with your local club whether they can provide a hockey stick for the first few sessions before you decide if you want to purchase one for yourself.
Whether you are a complete novice or returning to the sport, the Hockey Nation website lists places you can take part or watch the sport in the UK.
There are hundreds of events to choose from, many of them at little or no charge.
Rush Hockey, Back to Hockey, Quicksticks and In2Hockey also provide a variety of different ways to play the game.
Hockey gets its name from the French word 'hocquet', which means shepherd's crook.
There are records of a similar game being played in Persia in 2000 BC and the modern sport developed in London in the 19th century before being spread throughout the British Empire.
It became an Olympic sport for men in 1908, but it was not until the Moscow Games of 1980 that women's teams were admitted.
From the 2000 Games in Sydney, men competed in a 12-team tournament and women in a 10-team one, but in London this changed to allow 12 teams in each tournament.
India were the dominant force in the sport either side of World War Two. Between 1928 and 1960 they won 30 consecutive matches at the Olympics, scoring 197 goals and conceding just eight.
India's men have won eight Olympic golds in all, although the last of these came in 1980 and they did not even qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
Zimbabwe were the inaugural women's winners in the boycott-affected 1980 Games, while the German men and Dutch women were the 2012 Olympic champions.