Executive Director Weekly Report

Aug. 13, 2012, 7:04 p.m. (ET)

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of August 13, 2012 

USA Field Hockey announces post Olympics High Performance Review The London 2012 Olympics has come to a close and it has been a fabulous Olympic Games hosted brilliantly by LOCOG in a magnificent city. The Olympic Games are a truly wonderful experience of humanity coming together in sport. For us all, it has been exhilarating to witness the success of Team USA. Winning medals on the world’s greatest stage is very, very tough and U.S. athlete after U.S. athlete has delivered outstanding performances. The USA topped the medal table with a remarkable haul of 104 medals.

The results of our team did not match our expectations coming into the Olympic Games. Sport can be whimsical as the competition level among the teams was closely matched. With a number of different twists and turns, we could have finished in a much higher position. But, nonetheless, there is no hiding from it, we are very disappointed. The British say we picked up the “Wooden Spoon," finishing 12th, last in the tournament. Our 16 Olympians gave their all and we are intensely proud of their effort. Yet we came up short.

Since the Olympics expanded to a 12 team competition in hockey in 2008 we have held a hope that the U.S. Team will compete in every Olympic Games. In fact we expect more than that, we now expect to be competing for a medal. In sport, as with business, well operated organizations are accountable and we will not shy away from this. USA Field Hockey intends to now embark on a thorough process, which we have termed the High Performance Review, to analyze our structures, processes, personnel and our preparation for London 2012. This will also include a review of the Men’s National Team, who we withdrew from the Olympic Qualification process in February.

The High Performance Review will be made up of a small group of qualified independent individuals. We seek accountability and transparency, and the Review will offer recommendations upon which USA Field Hockey can base any necessary changes to better prepare our elite athletes for success. This group will get underway with meetings soon with an end goal of completing the process by mid-September. The result will plot a realistic Path to Rio, the next Olympic Games set for 2016.

While our team, high performance staff and USA hockey fans were genuinely disappointed, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. We have an ever improving foundation on which to build. USA Field Hockey is the governing body for the sport, and we can take pride in the growth over the past few years in the programs and services we offer for hockey. Our Futures program has never been larger with over 5,300 participants this past year and is the envy of other sports. We produce an ever growing range of premier national events including the National Hockey Festival, Disney’s Field Hockey Showcase, National Indoor Tournament and the National Club Championship. All four of these National events recorded record numbers of participants this past year. Our membership broke through 20,000 in 2011 and continues to grow. We now receive over $1m per annum in sponsorship revenue, a total only surpassed in world hockey by the likes of Holland and India, and we enjoy the support of a record number of corporate partners.

Additionally, we committed in 2012 to devote resources to growing the sport by employing a full time staff in youth and umpire development programs, and while this is less than 5% of our annual budget it is an important start. Both programs are showing exciting results already: we now have 100 Fundamental Field Hockey programs inspiring 7-11 years olds to play hockey for the first time, and we have a growing number of umpires who are receiving greater training opportunities.

Our overall revenue has never been higher, now at over $7m. Unlike many other countries who receive government grants which make up the majority of their annual funding, the funding we receive from the United States Olympic Committee (a non governmental entity) is less than 10% of our overall revenue. And as it is performance related, we can anticipate the USOC funding allocation to decline. In other words, more than 90% of the financial resources USA Field Hockey receives are provided by the thousands of hockey families around the country and we respect that we are accountable to you in how we spend our developed revenue streams. We are very cognizant that we must spend our limited resources very carefully, both to nurture the growth of the game, and to best prepare our teams - both men and women - for success. We take this responsibility seriously, and that is why we will go through an exacting Review process.

While we all share the disappointment of our results in London 2012, we are committed to getting it right and have full confidence that with the right structure and right people we can compete for medals in Rio 2016.

Finally let me congratulate our 16 Olympians, and two replacement athletes, who represented USA with huge pride and effort. We greatly admire your achievements. And, the USA Field Hockey High Performance staff consumed hundreds of hours in preparation for the Games, and I thank them for their devotion to the team and every effort they made trying to provide success.

As the High Performance Review committee completes their review, I will share with you the outcomes of their examination. Together we will make a legitimate go at this as we move toward the next FIH World Cup, the FIH's new World League, and, finally, the 2016 Brazilian Olympic Games. And, I welcome your comments (slocke@usafieldhockey.com).



Steve Locke
Executive Director
USA Field Hockey