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England Hockey says the Olympic Games is a chance to make spectators ‘give a shit’ about hockey

[img_assist|nid=3386|title=All part of the plan|desc=The nPower Big Dribble launched in February by Ashley Jackson (left), James Tindall and Made In Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh is about hockey capitalising on the ‘gift’ of a home Olympic Games|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=221]England Hockey Board chief executive Sally Munday is desperate that the sport capitalises on “the gift” of its time in the London 2012 Olympic Games limelight.

 “I am sure that post-2012, I will wake up and think, ‘Why did I not think of this or that?’ but right now, I don’t think there is anything else we could have done to raise the profile of hockey in the eyes of the public or the media,” she said.

“Through the Olympics we wanted to make these people feel differently about the game. We wanted players to feel part of it and we wanted spectators to give a shit about it.”

After Great Britain’s golden moment in Seoul 1988 and not forgetting England’s silver, as hosts, in the 2006 World Cup in London, hockey never really had the anticipated ‘take-off’ in Britan.

Munday and her team are determined this will not be the case again, whatever happens at London 2012. 

“We will not get the gift of a home Olympic Games again in our lifetime,” she said. “Not making the most of the opportunity is the one thing that continuously plays on my mind.” 

She feels the crucial time is around and immediately after the Games, a period she calls the five-week frenzy, where England Hockey will concentrate its efforts on those who have seen the game and want to experience it for themselves. 

Five hundred clubs across the United Kingdom have signed up to offer activities and training sessions in that period. And the board have widened the search for ideas to give the game a boost.

[img_assist|nid=4209|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=86|height=100]”We looked at what other host nations had done following a major tournament in their country. The Dutch really benefited from hosting the 1998 men’s and women’s world cup. Following the success of both teams (men gold, women silver) participation in the country doubled,” said Munday, who took up her post as England Hockey chief executive in January 2009.

Events in the lead-up to London 2012 have also been part of England Hockey’s strategy. Great Britain players have visited 250 schools and the ‘Big Dribble’ was a hockey-style replica of the Olympic Torch Relay, with a giant hockey ball touring towns and cities for 18 days in April.

Members of the public joined celebrities, sports stars and even sports minister Hugh Robertson to dribble the ball more than 2,000 miles.

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