Olympic field hockey pitch goes blue for visibility

The Olympic field hockey tournament at London’s Riverbank Arena will play host to more than 75 matches and 380 competitors during the Games. To help set the stage for players to safely slide, tackle and fall without abrasions, a high-performance artificial turf system has been specially developed for the Olympic Hockey Centre, one of the fully outdoor venues at the Olympic Park.

Octene-based DOWLEX polyethylene resins from Dow will be used for the artificial grass in all field hockey pitches at the London 2012 Olympic Games. But you won’t see the traditional green that comes to mind with artificial turf – the hockey pitches at the Olympic Park’s Riverbank Arena will be vibrant blue, with a pink border.

·         A novelty in the Olympic Games, the “London Blue” turf was chosen to highlight the visual identity of the London 2012 Olympics and allows players, officials, spectators and the media to keep their eyes on the ball more easily because the blue color provides a high level of contrast against the yellow ball and white lines.

·         London 2012 is the first Olympic Games where the hockey pitches aren’t green.

·         The Riverbank Arena has two pitches, one with spectator seating and one for use as a warm-up area.

·         40,000 square meters (or 430,556 square feet) of turf was used to create the hockey pitch. The area used for the hockey pitch is equivalent to…

·         More than 13 times the floor area of Westminster Abbey

·         The area filled by 7.3 million field hockey balls

Field hockey players are constantly driving their studded boots into artificial turf, causing stress and wearing down the surface. The most trusted industrial test for measuring artificial turf durability and resilience is the Lisport test, in which heavy rolls equipped with numerous studs are rolled back and forth over turf samples to offer a visual indication of how they might age over time as a result of typical usage.

·         Dow commissioned a Lisport test at Ghent University in Belgium.

·         After 20,000 cycles of the studded rollers, the artificial grass made with DOWLEX LLDPE resin did not have any visible trace of aging.’

·         After the Games, the pitches at the Riverbank Arena will move to the north of the Olympic Park, joining the group of permanent sporting facilities at Eton Manor. It will have 3,000 permanent seats with the ability to increase to up to 15,000 for major events.

“Artificial turf is safer with regard to predictability of the ball. With grass, you often have bumps that you can’t see, so the flat artificial turf helps not only with predictability of the ball, but also accuracy of movement.” – Roger Webb, Head of Sport from the International Hockey Federation