Women's field hockey was an Olympic sport for the first time. Six countries competed: Austria, India, Poland, Czechoslovakia, USSR, and Zimbabwe. The gold medal was won by the team of Zimbabwe ahead of the firm favorites of the USSR who won bronze. Zimbabwe did not learn it would get a place in the tournament until 35 days before the Games began and chose its team only the weekend before the opening ceremony. None of their players had prior playing experience on an artificial surface. They had not trained at all together before the tournament and warmed up by playing some friendly matches with different Soviet club teams.