Beach volleyball at the Summer Olympics
IOC Discipline CodeVBV
Governing bodyFIVB
Events2 (men: 1; women: 1)
Games
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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 1996. The United States is the only country to win medals in every edition.

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

Origins

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

Dalhausser and Rogers celebrate their gold medal win in 2008 with George W. Bush

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 of 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, having to settle for the bronze (where they beat two Brazilians competing for Georgia). The Brazilian victors 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.

After 16 years, the 2016 tournament again was held in an actual beach, Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Alison Cerutti, now partnered with Bruno Schmidt, returned to the finals, and won the gold beating Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy in the finals. The Dutch Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen completed the podium.

The 2020 Olympics, held in 2021 after a delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, had beach volleyball at Shiokaze Park. Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sørum won gold, beating in the final Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov, who had finished 2016 in fourth place, and Oleg Stoyanovskiy. Brazil missed not only the finals but the podium as a whole for the first time since the inaugural tournament, both pairs eliminated by eventual fourth place team Mārtiņš Pļaviņš and Edgars Točs.

Women's beach volleyball

Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst at the 2000 tournament.
Ágatha Bednarczuk embraces the home crowd after the 2016 final.

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 Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst 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, featuring 1996 champion Sandra Pires and runner-up Adriana Samuel, edged out the Japanese for the bronze medal.

Behar and Bede of Brazil avenged the 2000 defeat by beating Natalie Cook (now partnered with Nicole Sanderson) in the 2004 semifinal to return to the final match, 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 (the former in her third tournament, having been fourth in Atlanta), defeated the Australian team for the bronze medal.

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 first time in the tournament history.

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.

The 2016 tournament in Brazil had the country return to the beach volleyball final after 12 years, with Ágatha Bednarczuk and Bárbara Seixas winning the semifinal over defending champion Walsh Jennings and London silver medalist April Ross. However, they lost the gold medal to the Germans Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, who had also defeated the Brazilians Talita Antunes (4th in 2008) and Larissa França (bronze in 2012) in the semifinals. Talita and Larissa also lost the bronze medal to the United States, making Walsh Jennings the only player to win four beach volleyball Olympic medals. The defeat also broke a streak where every tournament had one country winning medals with both their teams: Brazil in 1996 (gold and silver) and 2000 (silver and bronze), United States in 2004 (gold and bronze) and 2012 (gold and silver), and China in 2008 (silver and bronze). There were also four teams tied for fifth place: Australia, Canada, Russia, and Switzerland, and hence seven countries were represented in the top eight teams.

The 2020 tournament in Japan had April Ross, now partnered with Alix Klineman, winning the gold in her third try, beating in the finals Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar. Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland, who had played in separate doubles in Rio, got the bronze. Brazil for the first time missed the semifinals, with at most a pair eliminated in the quarterfinals by the Swiss.

While twelve countries won medals in the male tournament, only six have done so with women. The dominating nations are Brazil and the US. Americans have the most gold medals with four. The only countries outside the six medalists (Brazil, USA, Australia, China and Germany) to reach the semifinals were Japan in 2000 and Latvia in 2020.

Competition formula

Olympics 2016 tournament

1996

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

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.

2004

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.

2008–2020

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.

The Horse Guards Parade hosted the 2012 tournament.

Men's tournament

Results summary

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
Norway
Anders Mol
and Christian Sørum
2–0 Russia
Viacheslav Krasilnikov
and Oleg Stoyanovskiy
Qatar
Ahmed Tijan
and Cherif Younousse
2–0 Latvia
Mārtiņš Pļaviņš
and Edgars Točs
24

Participating nations

Legend
Nation United States
1996
(24)
Australia
2000
(24)
Greece
2004
(24)
China
2008
(24)
United Kingdom
2012
(24)
Brazil
2016
(24)
Japan
2020
(24)
Years
 Angola 19th 1
 Argentina 14th 9th 9th 19th 19th 5
19th
 Australia 9th 9th 4th 9th 19th 5
17th 9th
 Austria 9th 17th 5th 19th 9th 5
19th 9th 9th
 Brazil 9th 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 5th 7
9th 9th 9th 3rd 5th 9th 9th
 Canada 3rd 5th 5th 17th 9th 5
17th 9th 19th
 Chile 19th 9th 2
 China 9th 19th 2
 Cuba 7th 17th 5th 3
 Czech Republic 14th 17th 17th 19th 4
 Estonia 17th 19th 2
 France 14th 19th 19th 3
 Georgia 4th 1
 Germany 9th 3rd 5th 5th 1st 19th 5th 7
19th 9th 19th 9th
 Great Britain 19th 1
 Greece 19th 1
 Indonesia 17th 1
 Italy 14th 19th 19th 5th 2nd 5th 6
9th 19th
 Japan 17th 9th 19th 19th 4
 Latvia 9th 3rd 19th 4th 4
9th
 Morocco 19th 1
 Mexico 9th 9th 9th 3
 Netherlands 17th 5th 4th 3rd 9th 5
17th 5th
 Norway 7th 9th 9th 19th 9th 1st 6
19th 19th
 New Zealand 17th 1
 Poland 5th 17th 9th 3
17th 17th
 Portugal 4th 4th 9th 3
 Puerto Rico 19th 1
 Qatar 9th 3rd 2
 Russia 9th 9th 9th 4th 2nd 5
5th 5th
 South Africa 9th 19th 2
 Spain 5th 5th 2nd 9th 9th 9th 9th 7
17th
 Switzerland 5th 3rd 9th 9th 17th 5
5th 17th 9th
 Sweden 17th 19th 9th 3
 Tunisia 19th 1
 United States 1st 1st 5th 1st 5th 5th 9th 7
2nd 5th 19th 5th 8th 19th 9th
5th - - - - -
 Venezuela 19h 1
Total 19 17 17 18 19 16 19 36

Women's tournaments

Results summary

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 Jennings
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 Jennings
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
United States
Alix Klineman
and April Ross
2–0 Australia
Mariafe Artacho del Solar
and Taliqua Clancy
Switzerland
Joana Heidrich
and Anouk Vergé-Dépré
2–0 Latvia
Tīna Graudiņa
and Anastasija Kravčenoka
24

Participating nations

Legend
Nation United States
1996
(18)
Australia
2000
(24)
Greece
2004
(24)
China
2008
(24)
United Kingdom
2012
(24)
Brazil
2016
(24)
Japan
2020
(24)
Years
 Argentina 19th 19th 19th 3
 Australia 3rd 1st 4th 5th 19th 5th 2nd 7
7th 5th 9th 19th 19th
17th
 Austria 5th 5th 2
 Belgium 9th 1
 Brazil 1st 2nd 2nd 4th 3rd 2nd 5th 7
2nd 3rd 5th 5th 9th 4th 9th
 Bulgaria 17th 9th 2
 Canada 17th 5th 19th 5th 5th 5
9th 5th
 China 9th 9th 2nd 4th 9th 9th 6
17th 19th 3rd 9th
 Costa Rica 19th 1
 Cuba 9th 9th 9th 9th 4
9th
 Czech Republic 9th 9th 5th 17th 19th 5
17th 17th
 Egypt 19th 1
 France 13th 9th 2
 Georgia 17th 1
 Germany 7th 9th 5th 9th 5th 1st 19th 7
9th 9th 9th 9th 9th 5th
 Great Britain 9th 17th 2
 Greece 17th 9th 9th 19th 4
9th 19th
 Indonesia 13th 1
 Italy 13th 5th 5th 5th 9th 19th 6
9th
 Japan 5th 4th 17th 19th 17th 5
9th 17th
 Kenya 19th 1
 Latvia 4th 1
 Mauritius 19th 1
 Mexico 17th 17th 19th 17th 4
 Netherlands 13th 17th 19th 19th 9th 9th 17th 7
9th 19th 19th
 Norway 9th 17th 9th 3
19th 9th
 Poland 9th 1
 Portugal 9th 1
 Russia 19th 9th 5th 9th 4
9th
 South Africa 19th 19th 2
 Spain 9th 9th 9th 3
 Switzerland 19th 19th 9th 5th 3rd 5
9th 9th
 United States 4th 5th 1st 1st 1st 3rd 1st 7
5th 5th 3rd 5th 2nd 19th 9th
9th
 Venezuela 17th 1
Total 13 15 17 17 17 17 17 34

Medal table

Sources:[2]

Total

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States (USA)72211
2 Brazil (BRA)37313
3 Germany (GER)2013
4 Australia (AUS)1113
5 Norway (NOR)1001
6 China (CHN)0112
7 Italy (ITA)0101
 ROC0101
 Spain (ESP)0101
10 Switzerland (SUI)0022
11 Canada (CAN)0011
 Latvia (LAT)0011
 Netherlands (NED)0011
 Qatar (QAT)0011
Totals (14 entries)14141442

Medal table, men

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States (USA)3104
2 Brazil (BRA)2316
3 Germany (GER)1012
4 Norway (NOR)1001
5 Italy (ITA)0101
 ROC0101
 Spain (ESP)0101
8 Canada (CAN)0011
 Latvia (LAT)0011
 Netherlands (NED)0011
 Qatar (QAT)0011
 Switzerland (SUI)0011
Totals (12 entries)77721

Medal table, women

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States (USA)4127
2 Brazil (BRA)1427
3 Australia (AUS)1113
4 Germany (GER)1001
5 China (CHN)0112
6 Switzerland (SUI)0011
Totals (6 entries)77721

See also

References

  1. ^ FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2002 PROVISIONAL CALENDAR RELEASED TODAY Archived July 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Olympic Analytics - Medals by Countries". olympanalyt.com. Retrieved 2022-01-31.