Introduction to and History of Volleyball, Olympic Sport. Volleyball became an Olympic sport at the Tokyo, Japan Summer Olympic Games in 1964. The sport was invented as an alternative to basketball. Volleyball is a sport in which two teams of six compete to see which team can score a set number of points first. Teams face each other and compete on a 18m x 9m court with a net in the center. The height of the net varies depending on the sex of the competitors – it is 2.43m high for men’s volleyball and 2.24m high for women’s volleyball.
Points are scored when a team lands the ball on the opposite half of the court. The ball can be hit three times before it must be passed back over the net, and although hands are normally used to volley the ball, any part of the body is acceptable.
To win a match, a team must win three of five sets from the match. To win the first two of the three required sets, a team must reach 25 points first. To win the third and deciding set the team must reach 15 points first.
Origins and History of Volleyball
Although a form of 5-on-5 volleyball was played in the Middle Ages, the modern form of indoor volleyball was invented in the same Massachusetts YMCA as basketball. In 1895, after watching a few games of basketball, William G. Morgan developed indoor volleyball as an less demanding alternative for older players.
Just one year later, volleyball was being played in Japan. The sport quickly grew during the next 20 years and soon a specific volleyball, made of synthetic leather and weighing between 260g and 280g was developed. Before long, the 6-on-6 and 3-hit rules also were added to the sport.
Men’s Volleyball, Women’s Volleyball in the Olympic Games
Men’s volleyball and women’s volleyball were both introduced to the Olympic Games in the same year: 1964. That year, the Japanese women’s volleyball team won a gold medal in front of a home crowd in Tokyo. On the men’s volleyball side, the USSR also won gold.
Since volleyball was introduced, no particular country has been dominant during each Olympic Games, according to Olympic.org. In women’s volleyball, Japan and the Soviet Union were the strongest teams from 1964-1984. Since then, Cuba, China and Brazil have emerged as dominant contenders. In men’s volleyball, the United States was dominant during the 1980s, Italy during the 1990s, and Brazil in the 2000s.
In the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, indoor volleyball will be played from Saturday, July 28, 2012-Sunday, August 12, 2012 in the Earls Court venue. . A total of 288 athletes will compete for two gold medals. In both men’s volleyball and women’s volleyball, 12 teams will make up two pools for the preliminary rounds. In total, 24 teams will compete, playing 76 matches – 38 on the men’s side, and 38 on the women’s side.