Canada middle blocker Lucas van Berkel #12 spikes the ball as Italy middle blocker Simone Anzani #17 attempts to block during the menís preliminary round at Ariake Arena during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Saturday,July 24, 2021. Photo by Leah Hennel/COCLeah Hennel/COC
Leah Hennel/COC


Sport Overview

Volleyball at Paris 2024

Venue: South Paris Arena 1

Competition Dates: July 27-August 11 (Days 1-16)

Events: 2 (1 men, 1 women)

Trivia: Test your knowledge!

At its core, volleyball is an indoor game played between two teams of six. The objective is to send a ball over the top of a net and have it land in the opposition’s half of the court.

Canadian volleyball player in white hits the ball over the net towards opponents in blue
Photo by Leah Hennel/COC

A volleyball court is 18m long and 9m wide, divided in half by a net that is 2.43m high for men and 2.24m high for women. After the ball is served, each team may touch it up to three times before it must be hit back over the net. Rallies continue until a team allows the ball to bounce on their side of the court or hits the ball out of bounds. Teams score a point by winning a rally, regardless of who served.

All volleyball matches are best-of-five sets. The first four sets are played to 25 points, with a winning margin of two points, while a fifth and deciding set is played to 15 points, also with a winning margin of two points.

Each team can have a roster of 12 players, but only six are on the court at any one time, with three lined up at the net and three at the back of the court. When the receiving team wins a rally and earns the right to serve, its players rotate their on-court position clockwise.

Canadian volleyball players in black prepare to block the ball hit by their opponent
Jason Ransom/COC

The men’s and women’s tournaments each feature 12 teams divided into three pools of four. The tournaments begin with a preliminary round robin within each pool. The top two teams in each pool along with the two best third-place teams advance to the single elimination bracket, beginning with the quarterfinals. The winners of the quarterfinals play in the semifinals and the winners of the semifinals play in the gold medal match while the semifinal losers play for bronze.

Canada’s Olympic Volleyball History (Pre-Paris 2024)

Canada has competed in the men’s volleyball tournament at five Olympic Games, posting its best result at Los Angeles 1984 with a fourth-place finish. Following a 24-year absence, the team qualified for Rio 2016 where they placed fifth. The Canadian women’s team has competed in three Olympic tournaments, most recently at Atlanta 1996 after finishing eighth at Montreal 1976 and Los Angeles 1984.

Olympic Volleyball History

Originally called “minionette”, volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan who was a student at Springfield College and a director of the YMCA at Holyoke, Massachusetts.

After becoming popular around the world, volleyball was introduced to the Olympic program at Tokyo 1964 where men’s and women’s tournaments were both included.