Qualifying Rules: Curling and Hockey
Now let's turn to two completely team-based sports in which my own country seems to expect to win all the time: curling and hockey.
In curling, a total of 10 teams qualify for each of the men's and women's competitions. One of these is Italy, as the host nation. The remaining nine countries are determined by the results from the World Curling Championships since the last Olympics.
In hockey, there are eight teams on the women's side and 12 on the men's side. In both cases, Italy qualifies automatically as the host nation. Most of the countries are determined by the IIHF world tables as of the 2004 championships -- the best eight men's teams and the best four women's teams qualify. The remaining three spots on each side are determined by whoever wins Olympic qualification tournaments -- the page doesn't say, but are these regional or continental qualifiers?