Beach volleyball at the Summer Olympics

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For the indoor event, see Volleyball at the Summer Olympics.
Beach volleyball at the Summer Olympics
Volleyball (beach) pictogram.svg
Beach volley pictogram
Governing body FIVB
Events 2 (men: 1; women: 1)
Games
  • 1896
  • 1900
  • 1904
  • 1908
  • 1912
  • 1920
  • 1924
  • 1928
  • 1932
  • 1936
  • 1948
  • 1952
  • 1956
  • 1960
  • 1964
  • 1968
  • 1972
  • 1976

Beach volleyball was introduced at the Summer Olympic Games in the 1992 Games as a demonstration event, and has been an official Olympic sport since the 1920s

Brazil has won a gold or a silver medal at every Olympic beach volleyball tournament, in either the men's or women's tournament competition, since its introduction in 1996. The United States has also won at least a bronze medal in every men's or women's tournament in the same period.

Winning the Olympics is considered to be the highest honor in international beach volleyball, followed by the World Championships, and the World Tour of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) for men and women.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Beach volleyball was a demonstration sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, at which Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos won the men's tournament, and Karolyn Kirby and Nancy Reno won the women's.

Beach volleyball was introduced as an official Olympic sport in 1996. A total of 24 teams take part in each beach volleyball Olympic tournament. Teams qualify on the basis of their performance in FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) events over the course of about 18 months before the Olympic Games. There is a limit of two teams per country, and one spot apiece is reserved for the host country and a randomly chosen wild-card country. In the event that any Olympic region is not represented, the highest ranked team from that continent qualifies for the tournament.

Men's beach volleyball[edit]

Dalhausser and Rogers celebrate their gold medal win in 2008.

The men's tournament has had a constant number of teams, with 24 couples in each edition.

In the first tournament, played in the 1996 Olympics, the matches were played at "Atlanta Beach" in Jonesboro, Georgia. The winners of the semifinals played for the gold and silver medals. The losers of the semifinal played for third and fourth places. The final was contested between the Americans Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes versus Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh. Kiraly is so far the only person with Olympic medals in both indoor and beach volleyball since he had won the gold medal indoors in the tournament of 1984 as well as 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.

The beach volleyball tournament 0f 2000 was played in Bondi Beach, a suburb of Sydney. The winners were again an American team, Blanton/Fonoimoana, defeating Brazilians Zé Marco/Ricardo (the former had competed in Atlanta) in the finals.

In the 2004 Summer Olympics the tournament was held in the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex, in Athens, Greece. The Brazilians Emanuel/Ricardo (the former being a veteran of two Olympics, and the latter a silver medalist in 2000) won the gold medal, defeating Bosma and Herrera of Spain.

The beach volleyball tournament of 2008 was carried out at the Beach Volleyball Ground, located in the Chaoyang Park in Beijing. In an upset, reigning champions Emanuel and Ricardo were defeated by their compatriots Márcio Araújo (who competed in Athens) and Fábio Luiz in the semifinal. The Brazilians were then defeated by Americans Rogers and Dalhausser in the final.

The 2012 tournament was played at the Horse Guards Parade in London. Emanuel Rego, now paired with Alison Cerutti, got his third straight medal, completing the three podium colors, by reaching the finals, where he lost to Germans Brink and Reckermann. Mārtiņš Pļaviņš and Jānis Šmēdiņš from Latvia got the bronze.

Women's beach volleyball[edit]

Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst at the 2000 tournament.

In Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996, there were eighteen teams entered, and the championship match was played between two Brazilian teams: Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires versus Mônica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel. The Australians edged out the Americans for the bronze medal.

At the Sydney Olympics of 2000, the number of teams was increased to 24. One of the two Australian teams, Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst, won the gold medal over the Brazilians Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede, four years after winning the bronze medal in Atlanta. Another Brazilian team edged out the Japanese for the bronze medal.

Behar and Bede of Brazil reached the final match again in 2004 in Athens, Greece, but they were defeated by Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States. Both May-Treanor and Walsh were veterans of the Sydney Olympics, but Walsh had been part of the American indoor team. Another American team, Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs, defeated the Australian team for the bronze medal. The Australian women were sent from first place in the year 2000 to fourth place in 2004.

In 2008 in China, May-Treanor and Walsh (now going by her married name of Walsh Jennings) were victorious again by defeating the Chinese team of Tian Jia and Wang Jie in the finals. Another Chinese team won the bronze medal, edging out Brazil in fourth place, and thus sending the Brazilian women home without a medal for the only time during 1996 - 2016.

In 2012 in England May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings won for the third consecutive Olympiad by defeating the other American team of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the championship game. Thus the United States finished with the gold and silver medals, with Brazil winning the bronze medal, edging out China in fourth place.

It is notable that in each Olympiad starting in 1996, there was country that won two medals out of three. The Brazilians won the gold and silver medals in 1996, and then the silver and bronze medals in 2000. The Americans won the gold and bronze medals in 2004, and gold and silver medal in 2012, and also the mainland Chinese won the silver and the bronze medals in 2008. This streak was finally broken in 2016 when teams from three different countries won the three medals: Germany won the gold medal, Brazil won the silver medal, and the United States won the bronze medal, sending the other Brazilian team to fourth place. There were also four teams tied for fifth place: Australia, Canada, Russia, and Switzerland, and hence seven different countries were represented in the top eight teams.

Brazilian women's teams have won seven medals in five out of the six Olympic tournaments, only excepting 2008, and American teams have won six medals in the four Olympics of 2004 through 2016. In the history of the sport, the Americans have won three gold and one silver medal, and the Brazilians have won one gold and four silver medals, losing to Australia, the United States, Germany, and to the lone Brazilian gold medal winner. The only other team that is remotely close is Australia, with one gold medal, one bronze medal, one fourth-place finish in 2004, and three teams tied for fifth place: 2000, 2004, and 2016.

Competition formula[edit]

1996[edit]

A double-elimination tournament was played for both men and women until a total of four teams qualified for the semifinals: the two finalist teams of the winners bracket and the two finalist teams of the elimination bracket. The men's field had 24 teams, and the women's field had 16.

Competitors were selected through a detailed Olympic qualification process which saw the participation of a total of 587 men's and women's athletes from 46 countries. Each country could qualify up to two teams - host country United States had two spots already guaranteed, with the doubles selected through Olympic Beach Trials held in Baltimore, Maryland.

2000[edit]

Following an expansion on the women's tournament, both competitions had 24 teams. The format became single elimination, preceded by a preliminary round to define the round of 16 teams - the twelve winners of the preliminary games automatically qualified, while the twelve defeated teams played two elimination rounds to get the remaining four spots.

The teams qualify by accumulating points in FIVB Olympic Qualification Tournaments, with one of the host nation having a guaranteed berth and another having the possibility of qualifying through the ranking.

The Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex hosted the 2004 tournament.

2004[edit]

Following a FIVB change of rules in 2001, the scoring was changed from sets of 15 points in a superseded sideout system to sets of 21 points in a rally point system.[1]

The format had the 24 competing teams were split equally into six pools of four. The top two teams from each pool and the four best third placed teams progressed through to a single-elimination tournament of sixteen teams.

The qualifying added a continental quota - in the event of an unrepresented continent, the top team from that continent earned a spot.

2008 and 2012[edit]

The six pools of four format was retained, but the qualifying for third-placed teams was changed. Of the six 3rd place teams, two were directly qualified to the playoffs. Of the four remaining third placed teams, another two teams get to the playoffs through winning a lucky loser (repechage) match.

Results summary[edit]

Men's tournament[edit]

Year Host Gold medal match Bronze medal match Teams
Gold Medalists Score Silver Medalists Bronze Medalists Score 4th place
1996
Details
United States
Atlanta
United States
Karch Kiraly
and Kent Steffes
2–0 United States
Mike Dodd
and Mike Whitmarsh
Canada
John Child
and Mark Heese
2–0 Portugal
João Brenha
and Miguel Maia
24
2000
Details
Australia
Sydney
United States
Dain Blanton
and Eric Fonoimoana
2–0 Brazil
Zé Marco de Melo
and Ricardo Santos
Germany
Jörg Ahmann
and Axel Hager
2–0 Portugal
João Brenha
and Miguel Maia
24
2004
Details
Greece
Athens
Brazil
Emanuel Rego
and Ricardo Santos
2–0 Spain
Javier Bosma
and Pablo Herrera
Switzerland
Patrick Heuscher
and Stefan Kobel
2–1 Australia
Julien Prosser
and Mark Williams
24
2008
Details
China
Beijing
United States
Phil Dalhausser
and Todd Rogers
2–1 Brazil
Márcio Araújo
and Fábio Luiz Magalhães
Brazil
Emanuel Rego
and Ricardo Santos
2–0 Georgia (country)
Renato "Geor" Gomes
and Jorge "Gia" Terceiro
24
2012
Details
United Kingdom
London
Germany
Julius Brink
and Jonas Reckermann
2–1 Brazil
Alison Cerutti
and Emanuel Rego
Latvia
Mārtiņš Pļaviņš
and Jānis Šmēdiņš
2–1 Netherlands
Reinder Nummerdor
and Richard Schuil
24
2016
Details
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Alison Cerutti
and Bruno Oscar Schmidt
2–0 Italy
Daniele Lupo
and Paolo Nicolai
Netherlands
Alexander Brouwer
and Robert Meeuwsen
2–0 Russia
Viacheslav Krasilnikov
and Konstantin Semenov
24
2020
Details
Japan
Tokyo

Women's tournament[edit]

Year Host Gold medal match Bronze medal match Teams
Gold Medalists Score Silver Medalists Bronze Medalists Score 4th place
1996
Details
United States
Atlanta
Brazil
Sandra Pires
and Jackie Silva
2–0 Brazil
Mônica Rodrigues
and Adriana Samuel
Australia
Natalie Cook
and Kerri Pottharst
2–0 United States
Barbra Fontana
and Linda Hanley
18
2000
Details
Australia
Sydney
Australia
Natalie Cook
and Kerri Pottharst
2–0 Brazil
Shelda Bede
and Adriana Behar
Brazil
Sandra Pires
and Adriana Samuel
2–0 Japan
Yukiko Takahashi
and Mika Teru Saiki
24
2004
Details
Greece
Athens
United States
Misty May
and Kerri Walsh
2–0 Brazil
Shelda Bede
and Adriana Behar
United States
Holly McPeak
and Elaine Youngs
2–1 Australia
Natalie Cook
and Nicole Sanderson
24
2008
Details
China
Beijing
United States
Misty May-Treanor
and Kerri Walsh
2–0 China
Tian Jia
and Wang Jie
China
Xue Chen
and Zhang Xi
2–0 Brazil
Talita Antunes
and Renata Ribeiro
24
2012
Details
United Kingdom
London
United States
Misty May-Treanor
and Kerri Walsh Jennings
2–0 United States
Jennifer Kessy
and April Ross
Brazil
Larissa França
and Juliana Silva
2–1 China
Xue Chen
and Zhang Xi
24
2016
Details
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
Germany
Laura Ludwig
and Kira Walkenhorst
2–0 Brazil
Ágatha Bednarczuk
and Bárbara Seixas
United States
April Ross
and Kerri Walsh Jennings
2–1 Brazil
Talita Antunes
and Larissa França
24
2020
Details
Japan
Tokyo

Participating nations[edit]

Medal table[edit]

Total[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 6 2 2 10
2  Brazil (BRA) 3 7 3 13
3  Germany (GER) 2 0 1 3
4  Australia (AUS) 1 0 1 2
5  China (CHN) 0 1 1 2
6  Italy (ITA) 0 1 0 1
 Spain (ESP) 0 1 0 1
8  Canada (CAN) 0 0 1 1
 Latvia (LAT) 0 0 1 1
 Netherlands (NED) 0 0 1 1
 Switzerland (SUI) 0 0 1 1
Total 12 12 12 36

Medal table, men[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 3 1 0 4
2  Brazil (BRA) 2 3 1 6
3  Germany (GER) 1 0 1 2
4  Italy (ITA) 0 1 0 1
 Spain (ESP) 0 1 0 1
6  Canada (CAN) 0 0 1 1
 Latvia (LAT) 0 0 1 1
 Netherlands (NED) 0 0 1 1
 Switzerland (SUI) 0 0 1 1
Total 6 6 6 18

Medal table, women[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 3 1 2 6
2  Brazil (BRA) 1 4 2 7
3  Australia (AUS) 1 0 1 2
4  Germany (GER) 1 0 0 1
5  China (CHN) 0 1 1 2
Total 6 6 6 18

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]