2016 Summer Olympics: Orange Sky

Most Americans will walk away from the 2016 Rio Olympics with heartfelt memories of some of the greatest athletic performances witnessed in modern Olympics history.  Michael Phelps once again dominated the pool on his way to winning 28 total career Olympic medals, 23 of them Golds.  Simone Biles became the biggest breakout star with her near perfect masterpiece across the gymnastics spectrum, not only winning gold, but raising the bar (pun intended) on what an elite world-class gymnastics performance looks like.  And once again, Usain Bolt proved he’s not human.

But while most Americans will celebrate these and other Olympic exhibitions that once again push the athletic barriers, we here at The 500 have already crowned our Olympic gold medalists.  Ladies and (mainly) Gentlemen, may we present to you the Dutch Women’s Field Hockey Team…

Field Hockey is a pretty common sport played around most of the US, especially in the East Coast.  However, its purely the domain of women (men’s field hockey is popular in Europe) and the US Women’s Field Hockey team is ok, but not great.  Since the first time USA Women’s Field Hockey showed up in the 1984 LA Olympics to take home the Bronze Medal, they’ve placed no higher than 5th.  In Rio, they were knocked out by Team Germany in the Quarterfinals.  So while we bleed red, white, and all-American blue here at The 500, we give a shoutout to our American lady hockey players before doing a very, very deep dive into Team Netherlands.

The Dutch are good.  I mean really good.  They’ve taken home the Gold in back to back Olympics in 2008 and 2012 and are currently in the Semifinals in Rio.  They’ve also qualified every year but their first attempt in 1980, taking home at least a Bronze medal every year except in Barcelona in 1992.  They also won another Gold in 1984, the same year of the Americans’ only medal winning effort.  This team is good.  They’ve captured our field hockey watching attention.  But they’ve also captured our hearts.

Meet Ellen Hoog

Hoog has been a midfielder for the Dutch team since 2004, sharing the golden glory in ’08 and ’12 while also winning gold medals for the 2006 Madrid and 2014 Hague Field Hockey World Cups.  In total she’s played in 127 matches, scoring 32 goals.  But this 5’4″ stick handler is also the face of an already great franchise.

Hoog is a phenomenal hockey star in her own right, just check out her highlight reel…

Even her training videos are intense…

Of course, not only has Hoog been a champion on the field, she’s gotten the glory of a feature spread in the all too (in)famous SI Swimsuit Edition.

Hoog

Hell, she even appeared with Dutch teammate Eva de Goede, bringing new meaning to the term “Double Dutch”.

But while Hoog is the current “face” of Team Netherlands, this squad runs deeper than a Taylor Swift Instagram photo.  Other top notch Dutch ball handlers include…

 

Sophie Polkamp

Lidewij Welten

Kitty van Male

And finally, all timer Fatima Moreira de Melo (half Dutch/half Portuguese…sploosh!)

In fact, do yourself a favor and do a little Google Image search for “Dutch Field Hockey Team” and PayPal your thank you donations to The500Section@gmail.com.Dutch

Kids, do yourself a favor.  Always do a study aboard during college (it will be the most fun experience you have until things fall off a cliff around age 25) and when you do study abroad, I implore you to at least apply to a school in the Netherlands.   The weather can be a bit drab and their fish smells like a marathon runners socks, but just re-Google the above and you’ll be glad you got off at Schiphol…

I’m sure by the time the Olympics are over, more celebrations and glory will be dished out (we’re looking at you Carmelo and company with Team USA Basketball), but for now, here’s to the best stick handlers on the planet, our lovely Dutch Women’s Field Hockey Team.  Go Netherlands!

 

 

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