Behind The Scenes...The Boys

olympic village life

The GB men's hockey team moved into the Athlete's Village on Sunday and after a couple of days to settle in, they took to the pitch to play a practice match against the Black Sticks at the Riverbank Arena.

Great Britain 2
Jonty Clarke (F)
Richard Smith (F)

New Zealand 4

Following their recent victory in the Tri-Nations tournament in Spain, the Great Britain men lost 4 - 2 in a practice match to New Zealand, in a sweltering Riverbank Arena this afternoon.

New Zealand were the stronger team in the opening period scoring three goals. Reading's Jonty Clarke was the solitary GB scorer and made it 1 - 1 before New Zealand took the upper hand, adding a further two goals. The game was played in two periods of 30 minutes and the second period saw a much more even affair as both teams scored once more. New Zealand went 4 - 1 up before Loughborough Students' Richard Smith pulled a goal back in open play to make the final score 4 - 2.

Jonty Clarke in action at the London Olympic Test Event 2012

Speaking after the game, Great Britain Team Manager Andy Halliday said "This was a good work out in very hot conditions just five days before our openng game against Argentina. The team has settled well into the (Athlete's) village and this was a great opportunity to run through procedures for before, during and after matches. The venue looks fantastic and the group is relishing the opportunity and challenges ahead."  

With the GB men having moved into the Olympic Village on July 22nd, we spoke to Dan Fox (see image below) and Jonty Clarke to find out what village life is like and the various habits of some of their teammates...

Hockey tournaments are generally pretty short, sharp affairs; games come thick and fast. The Olympics is actually one of the more civilised competitions because games are every other day rather than back-to-back, but with matches coming thick and fast, momentum becomes crucial. You end up riding the wave of confidence that a good performance gives you into the next game and then the next, so getting off to a good start is crucial.

We’re pretty good at keeping ourselves together – we’re a fairly relaxed bunch of guys with similar senses of humour and interests. The guy who might get most wound up though, well, have most trouble sleeping, is Richard Smith – he can get himself worked up before a game.

JC: It’s often more of an issue after games – you’ve got so much adrenalin going through you that you just can’t drift off even though you’re shattered and want nothing more than to drift off. That’s when the DVD boxsets come out…

DF: I’ve heard the Olympic Village is an amazing experience. You get pretty much every height, every body shape, every diet you can think of so you can find yourself wandering around just staring at people trying to take it all in. But everyone is really engaging if you do get a chance to chat to people, although obviously there is a balancing act between enjoying the experience and keeping focused on the job, and I think we’d all agree we’d rather err on the side of staying focused.

JC: At Beijing, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal came into the village and had to leave after a day because they couldn’t get a minute’s peace! I imagine that’s relatively unusual though.

DF: I thought you meant who was most likely to be standing around offering people autographs! That’s definitely James Tindall…


Hit the gym
Ali Wilson’s quite the gym goer. Then there’s Richard Smith, who’s annoying because while he’s not obsessed with it, when he does come in he makes you feel pretty inadequate. He’s got to be the strongest man in the world.

If you want to find out more about the players, click here to visit their individual profiles.

Watch every GB match live on the BBC. To ensure you don't miss any coverage, click here to download a match schedule. Then men's first game is on Monday 30th July against Argentina, push back at 19.00.