skip to content
Volleyball

Men's events

Women’s events



Volleyball was conceived as a less strenuous alternative to basketball. The sport became popular very quickly and made its Olympic debut in 1964.

A shared history

Basketball and volleyball were both invented at Springfield College in Massachusetts within a few years of one another. In 1895, William G. Morgan, after watching basketball develop, decided to invent a less strenuous sport for older people. He called this game "Mintonette". However, a local professor noted the ball being volleyed over the net, and the sport was almost immediately renamed.

Growth and development

The sport quickly became popular across the world. Japan was playing the game by 1896, followed closely by other Asian countries and the sport developed rapidly over the next 20 years. A specially designed ball came into play; six-a-side play became standard and the rules mandating three hits were instituted.

Olympic history

 No country has been truly dominant in volleyball, although the Soviet Union has won the most medals. The Japanese and the Soviet Union women’s teams dominated from 1964-1984 but since then the balance of power has shifted to Cuba, then to China and now to Brazil. The United States men’s teams were prominent in the 1980s, Italy in the 1990s and Brazil in the 2000s.

More


Gallery

Volleyball Men
Image Alt Text

Volleyball Men

Simone Buti of Italy and Ivan Zaytsev of Italy try to block the spike by Mauricio Luiz de Souza of Brazil during the Men's Gold Medal Match between Italy and Brazil on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Volleyball Men
Image Alt Text

Volleyball Men

Wallace de Souza of Brazil spikes the ball during the Men's Gold Medal Match between Italy and Brazil on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Volleyball Men
Image Alt Text

Volleyball Men

Massimo Colaci of Italy in action during the Men's Gold Medal Match between Italy and Brazil on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Volleyball Men
Image Alt Text

Volleyball Men

Wallace de Souza of Brazil spikes the ball during the Men's Gold Medal Match between Italy and Brazil on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Volleyball Men
Image Alt Text

Volleyball Men

Ivan Zaytsev of Italy seen during the Men's Gold Medal Match between Italy and Brazil on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
play
https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/2016/08/rio/21/volleyball-men/volleyball-men_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Volleyball - Men - Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Highlights of the Volleyball - Men on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
IOC
More

back to top Fr