London 2012: Smurf turf adds pizzazz to hockey tournament


Pink-fringed and electric blue, the London Olympics hockey pitch has certainly caught the attention of the world—hockey devotees or no. Yet while the chosen color scheme may seem a tad frivolous, it fits beautifully into the overall design of these Games, looks good on television and—most importantly—embodies a high-performance artificial turf system specifically designed to meet International Hockey Federation (FIH) standards.

Known as field hockey in the U.S., and as just plain hockey in the rest of the world, this ball-and-stick game is, incredibly, one of the top-five most popular team sports around the globe. And contrary to what is commonly believed in the U.S., it’s not just for girls. The top men and women’s hockey teams from all over the world are competing furiously for Olympic gold in their sport. And for the first time, they’re doing it on a blue field.

Players have dubbed it “Smurf turf,” but say that otherwise, it plays just as well as a standard-colored green field. For spectators, the action is easier to follow as the yellow ball can actually been seen against the blue background. And sponsor Dow, the official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Movement and partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and National Olympic Committees around the world through 2020, can be proud of having contributed to the development of one of the most closely viewed, commented-on synthetic pitches in the world.
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