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Volleyball


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.

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Gallery

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Women's Volleyball Korea vs USA

London 2012 - Sa-Nee Kim #4 of Korea sets the ball for Hyo-Jin Yang #17 against the United States during the Women's Volleyball semifinal match on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at Earls Court on August 9, 2012 in London, England.
Getty
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Team United States celebrates

London 2012 - Team United States celebrates after defeating Korea during the Women's Volleyball semifinal match on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at Earls Court on August 9, 2012 in London, England.
Getty
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Women's Volleyball semifinal match Japan vs Brazil

London 2012 - Fabiana Claudino #1 and Jaqueline Carvalho #8 of Brazil celebrate a point win the the third set against Japan during the Women's Volleyball semifinal match on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at Earls Court on August 9, 2012 in London, England.
Getty
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United States celebrates after defeating Korea

London 2012 - Destinee Hooker #19, Tamari Miyashiro #5, Logan Tom #15 and Jordan Larson #10 of United States celebrates after defeating Korea in the Women's Volleyball semifinal match on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at Earls Court on August 9, 2012 in London, England.
Getty
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American fan ready for gold medal match

London 2012 - A young American fan anticipates the USA versus USA gold medal match in women’s beach volleyball.
IOC/Jason Evans
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Ready, team?

London 2012 - Denys Kaliberda signals the plan and chats with teammates before Germany serves to Tunisia in men’s volleyball.
IOC/John Huet
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