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Beach Volleyball


Beach volleyball started out in California as a pastime. Due to its popular appeal it developed into a thriving professional sport

Family fun

Beach volleyball first appeared in the early 1920s in Santa Monica, California. Then what started out as just some family fun became a sport spreading rapidly across the world. By the 1930s, the game had reached countries like Czechoslovakia, Latvia and Bulgaria.

Depression free

Interestingly, beach volleyball really took off in the United States during the 1930s, perhaps as a little light relief from the Great Depression. The first official two-man tournament took place in 1947, and the first beach volleyball circuit, involving hundreds of players and five California beaches, began in the 1950s.

Popular culture

However it was the crossover with popular culture that really launched the sport. In the 1960s, The Beatles appeared at the legendary Sorrento Beach in Los Angeles for a quick hit and US President John F. Kennedy even went to watch a game. Its cool image was a sponsor’s dream and prize money soon poured into the sport.

Olympic newcomer

Beach volleyball made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. USA and Brazil shared all the gold medals in the subsequent four editions, except in Sydney where the Australian women’s team dominated.

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Gallery

Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball - Women’s Tournament
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball - Women’s Tournament

Maria Voronina RUS dives for the ball during play in the Beach Volleyball Women's Gold Medal Match against Italy at the Beach Volleyball Arena, Green Park. The Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday 17th October 2018.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball - Men’s Tournament
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball - Men’s Tournament

Yorick De Groot NED in action during the Beach Volleyball Men's Team Gold Medal Match at the Beach Volleyball Arena, Green Park. The Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday 17th October 2018.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball - Men’s Tournament
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball - Men’s Tournament

Juan Bautista Amieva Tarditti ARG dives for ball during play against Artur Hajos HUN and Bence Attila Streli HUN in the Beach Volleyball Bronze Medal Match at the Beach Volleyball Arena, Green Park. The Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday 17th October 2018.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball

Ana Carolina Dos Santos BRA in action against Ethlyne Renitta Lockhart DMA in the Beach Volleyball Womens Tournament at the Beach Volleyball Arena, Green Park. The Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday 8th October 2018.
Thomas Lovelock for OIS-IOC
Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Beach Volleyball

Phichakon Narathon THA against Jiri Sedlak CZE in the Beach Volleyball Mens Tournament at the Beach Volleyball Arena, Green Park. The Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday 8th October 2018.
Thomas Lovelock for OIS-IOC
Alison Cerutti of Brazil reacts against Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland during the Men's Beach Volleyball a quarterfinal match between Brazil and Poland on the London 2012 Olympic Games in England.
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Alison Cerutti - London 2012 Olympic Games, England

Alison Cerutti of Brazil reacts against Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland during the Men's Beach Volleyball a quarterfinal match between Brazil and Poland on the London 2012 Olympic Games in England.
2012 Getty Images
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