Hassick makes Olympic debut

Aug. 01, 2012, 5:37 a.m. (ET)

Amy Hassick made history yesterday when she stepped on the blue and pink pitch at Riverbank Arena in London to umpire a preliminary match between New Zealand and South Africa, becoming the first U.S. umpire to officiate in the Olympic Games for 12 years. 

At the 2000 Sydney Games Renee Chatas and Steve Horgan represented USA among the appointed umpires. No U.S. appointments were made for Athens in 2004 or Beijing in 2008.

“Umpiring at the Olympic Games is one of the greatest honors for a field hockey official,” says Steve Horgan, National Umpire Director. “For Amy to be officiating at the London Games is a huge achievement and we can be immensely proud of her. She is a talented and hardworking umpire and an inspiration to all aspiring umpires across the U.S.”

Hassick is part of a pool of 17 umpires who receive assignments 24 hours prior to matches. Twelve umpires are used each day, in addition to a reserve and video umpire appointed to each match. Umpires are typically assigned to matches in the pool that do not feature the country they are from. After a strong first performance Hassick will be looking for further assignements with five competition days remaining.

Hassick, 39, started as an umpire at the age of 28 and obtained her International Badge in 2007 at the Four Nations in Santiago, Chile. Shortly after that summer, she umpired in the Pan American Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. In 2008, she held the whistle in January at the Four Nations in Mendoza, Argentina, in April, at the South American Championships in Montevideo, Uruguay, in June, at the Sentanta Trophy in Dublin, Ireland, and in July, at the Four Nations in Bremen, Germany. In 2009, she was appointed to the Pan American Cup in Hamilton, Bermuda, and to the Junior World Cup in Boston, USA. After the Junior Women's World Cup in Boston, Hassick was elevated to the Grade 1 list of umpires. In 2010, Hassick umpired in the World Cup in Rosario, Argentina and in the summer of 2011 Amy reinforced her place amongst hockey’s elite officials at the Champions Trophy in Amstelveen, Netherlands.

Umpiring offers the opportunity to excel at a different component of the sport as well as provide players the opportunity to give back to the sport. USA Field Hockey is actively seeking new umpires. More information on umpiring in the U.S. can be found here .