Cameo Tietje ’18
Assistant Sports Editor
The Summer Olympics this year were one of the USA’s best games yet, bringing 121 medals home. However, the USA Women’s Field Hockey team who did not medal, still deserves recognition for their drastic improvement. From finishing last in the London 2012 Games to making it to the quarter finals in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, this team’s impressive feat was powered by their sheer determination and dedication. The new head coach, Craig Parhnam also played a major role in team USA’s outstanding play in Rio. Parhnam was appointed coach of the women’s national team following the disappointment of placing last in the 2012 London Olympics.
Parhnam came highly qualified and experienced as a two-time Olympian for Great Britain. He later went on to coach the Great Britain team to place in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and took the bronze medal for himself in London. Although, Parhnam only had three and a half years to prepare team USA for their next international stage, he hoped to overcome many challenges for the team and increase their skill level. He did this by refocusing the team to repetitive play in order to create consistent players on the field. This forced other teams to recognize team USA as disciplined and made them known for their finesse and physicality.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, team USA drew one of the toughest pools, facing their rivals, Argentina, in game one. Although Argentina is ranked higher than USA every year, USA beat Argentina 2-1 in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. USA needed to maintain an unbreakable mentality even though they were not favored to win in Rio. The team truly believed that if they fought hard enough they would emerge victorious. Through their dedication and focus on details, team USA once again beat Argentina in a well fought match. The victory over Argentina helped empower team USA to beat Australia (ranked number 3). They had two more victories, but then were eventually defeated by Great Britain, with the score 2-1.
Team USA made it to the quarterfinals and fell to Germany, 2-1. Defeated yet proud, USA left everything on the field, fighting until the last whistle. Although team USA did not medal, their improvement from last place in the 2012 London Olympics shows a bright future for the constantly evolving team and sport. Parhnam’s coaching style of consistent play helped significantly improve the USA Women’s National Team’s skill level. They are now seen as a tactical team with fiery determination on the field. Their performance at Rio 2016 Olympics has helped pave the way for field hockey back in the States. Field hockey’s popularity is steadily increasing in the US, just as the women’s national team improves each year.