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Beach Volleyball

It wasn’t long after volleyball was created in 1895 that the beach version of the game came into existence. While there are accounts of volleyball being played on the beaches of Normandy and Brittany in 1915, the true birth of beach volleyball can be traced to Santa Monica in southern California where courts were put on the beaches in the late 1920s. The first two-man beach volleyball game was played in 1930.

Following the first sponsored tour being organized in the United States in 1980, the International Volleyball Federation sanctioned its first international beach volleyball tournament on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro in 1987. In 1992-93 the FIVB created a beach volleyball department, leading to the sport being added to the Olympic program at Atlanta 1996. Three years later it debuted at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

Martin Reader Josh Binstock

The playing court for beach volleyball is 16m x 8m, in contrast to the indoor volleyball court which is 18m x 9m. The sand must be at least 40cm deep and composed of fine loosely compacted grains. The nets are at the same height as the indoor game, 2.43m for men and 2.24m for women.

All matches are a best-of-three format. The first two sets go to 21 points, with a winning margin of two points, while a third and deciding set goes to 15 points, with a winning margin of two points. Teams can score a point by winning a rally, regardless of who served.


Men and Women

Each event is a tournament featuring 24 teams composed of two people. Both tournaments begin with six pools of four teams, divided to take into account seeding. Following a round robin within each pool, the top two teams in each pool advance to a Round of 16, along with the two best third place teams. The remaining four third place teams play two playoff matches to determine the final two places in the Round of 16.

Beginning with the Round of 16, the tournaments become a single elimination bracket. Eight teams advance to the quarterfinals from which four teams advance to the semifinals. The semifinal winners move onto the gold medal match while the semifinal losers play for bronze.

Canadian Medallists







BronzeJohn Child, Mark Heese1996 AtlantaMen -
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Rio 2016

History will be made in 2016 when Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosts the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, marking the first time that a South American country will welcome the world to an Olympic Games. It is also just the third time that the Games will be held in the southern hemisphere, following Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000.

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