Handball is a fast-paced team game that was first played in Scandinavia and Germany at the end of the 19th century.
The modern game of handball was first played towards the end of the 19th century in Scandinavia and Germany. Field handball was first recognised at the turn of the century and G. Wallström introduced the sport of "handball" to Sweden in 1910.
The International Amateur Handball Federation (IAHF) was set up in 1928 on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Amsterdam, leading to the first Field Handball World Championships being played in Germany in 1938, following its appearance at the 1936 Berlin Games.
Between 1938 and 1966 both forms of handball were played at separate World Championships: an outdoor, 11-a-side game played on a football pitch and a new 7-a-side indoor version preferred by the Scandinavians.
After 1936, field handball was no longer played at the Games, except as a demonstration sport in 1952 in Helsinki. Indoor handball was presented for the first time at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Yugoslavia was victorious and won the first gold medal after a competition between 16 men’s teams.
The introduction of women’s handball to the Games took place in 1976 in Montreal. The Soviet Union won this first women’s Olympic competition, taking home two gold medals after the 11-team men’s competition and the six-team women’s one.