Aim of the game
On a sand court divided in half by a net, two teams of two players must try to hit the ball on to the ground in their opponents’ court
Why should you watch this?
Rio and beach volleyball go hand in hand, and the sport will be contested on the legendary Copacabana beach, where fans will be wowed as much by highly technical and physically astonishing matches as by the stunning views
A fault awarded by the referee when a player’s contact with the ball is prolonged and the ball comes to a rest
A big block made from high above the net, sending the ball down into the opponent’s court, also known as a ‘stuff block’
When the defender positioned to block retreats from the net in anticipation of a slower, deeper attacking shot
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The first beach volleyball matches were played in the 1920s on the beaches of Santa Monica, California
In 1987 Rio de Janeiro held the first international event; the first world championships took place in Brazil, Japan and Italy in 1989
The first women's world championship was held in Almería, Spain, in the same year as the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games
Brazil and the USA dominated the first Olympic beach volleyball competition, at Atlanta 1996. Brazil's women took gold and silver, the US won the same in the men's event
At Beijing 2008, Kerri Walsh Jennings/Misty May and Todd Rogers/Phil Dalhausser ensured that the USA left with both gold medals
At London 2012, the Germans Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann became the first European pair to win Olympic gold in beach volleyball
Karch Kiraly, from the United States, is the only Olympic champion in volleyball and beach volleyball
Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May, of the United States, have won gold at the last three Olympic Games without losing any of their 21 matches
Beach volleyball matches normally continue in moderate rain or wind – only lightning or strong wind and rain cause games to be stopped
If it is unclear if the ball landed in or out, the referee can decide by taking account of the ball's mark in the sand
At the London 2012 Games, the beach volleyball arena was set up in front of Horse Guards Parade, where the Queen’s birthday is celebrated every year with the ‘Trooping the Colour’
A match is contested in the best of three sets – the first team to win two sets wins. The first two sets are won when one team reaches 21 points, and if needed, the third set is played to 15 points. A set needs to be won by a two-point margin.
Points are scored when a team hits the ball on to the ground in their opponents’ court or when their rivals fail to return the ball, commit a fault or are penalised by the referee.
The teams are made up of two players and there are no substitutes. Each pair can touch the ball up to three times before returning it over the net and a blocking move counts as a touch.
The players alternate on the service, which can be made from any position in the service zone. The player who is not serving stands at the net, ready to block. The receiving players can place themselves in any position on the court to meet their opponent’s service.
The first referee, who is positioned on an elevated chair, is in charge and has the final say on all questions related to the match.
The ball: has a circumference of 66cm to 68cm and weighs up to 280g.
The net: is 2.43m high in men’s matches and 2.24m is women’s matches.
Athletes & Teams
|16 - 20||2|
|21 - 25||16|
|26 - 30||53|
|31 - 40||29|