The inaugural Olympic Hockey Competition for men was held in London in 1908 with England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales competing separately. With the addition of Germany and France, the competition ran with six teams. After having made its first appearance at the London Games, hockey was subsequently dropped from the 1912 Stockholm Games after host nations were granted control over ‘optional sports’. It reappeared in 1920 in Antwerp after pressure from Belgian hockey advocates before being omitted again in Paris in 1924.

The formation of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in 1924 was not soon enough for the Paris Olympics but it did grant hockey re-entry in Amsterdam in 1928. Hockey has been on the programme ever since, with women's hockey included for the first time in Moscow in 1980. At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, hockey celebrated 100 years as an Olympic sport. At the London 2012 Olympics, hockey was the third biggest sport in terms of ticket sales with over 630,000 sold. The Olympics is the ultimate hockey competition, with the Olympic gold medal being the most coveted prize in the sport.