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Date
12 Aug 2012
Tags
London 2012 , IOC News , Handball , France , Norway

French make history in superb tournament - London 2012 - Handball


Many people touted London 2012 to be the best handball competition ever and they will not have been disappointed as both the men's and women's competition threw up some superb action, though ultimately familiar winners.

Both France and Norway retained the Olympic titles they won in Beijing four years ago, but that did not detract from a superb tournament, that received unprecedented support in both the Copper Box and the Basketball Arena, making Handball one of the successes of the Games.

In the men's competition, France wrote themselves into the record books after a 22-21 win over Sweden in the final as they become the first ever country to win back-to-back gold medals.

For Sweden, while silver represented a success, it was the fourth time they have taken second spot on the podium as their wait for an elusive gold medal continues. Croatia earned bronze with victory over Hungary.

Norway continued their domination of women's Handball after a tense 26-23 win over Montenegro in the final.

The Scandinavians, who are also reigning world and European champions, won gold in Beijing four years ago and they were back on top of the podium in London after finding their form at the right time.

After a poor preliminary stage, where they qualified in fourth place, they slipped through the gears in the knockout stages and saved their best for last in the final, outlining their credentials as the world's best.

Montenegro had to settle for silver in a brave display, but they have written themselves into the history books by winning their country's first Olympic medal following its independence from Serbia six years ago.

With few people tipping them for success at London 2012, they can walk away with their heads held high and in Katarina Bulatovic, they have the tournament's top scorer with 53 goals in eight games.

It was also a successful Games for Spain, who won their first-ever Olympic medal in women's handball after victory over South Korea earned them bronze, while that defeat for South Korea meant it was just the second time they have failed to earn a place on the podium in eight appearances at the Games.

There were positives to take from the Games for France, who played some fine Handball until a last-gasp quarter-final defeat to Montenegro, and Brazil.

Great Britain lost all five of their matches in both the men's and women's competitions, though their pre-Games brief was all about creating a legacy and with the way the British public took to Handball - a sport they had never experienced before - that target has definitely been achieved.

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