History of volleyball: from the origins to the Olympic Games (2023)

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Volleyball has its origins in four different disciplines and has grown into one of the most important sports in the world.

6 minutesBy Naveen Peter

History of volleyball: from the origins to the Olympic Games (3)

For a sport that has been around for over a century, theOrigin of Volleyballhas its roots in quite humble beginnings.

The story goes like thisWilliam G. Morgan- who invented the game of volleyball in 1895 - came up with the idea that people who found basketball's "bumps" or "bumps" too exhausting might have an alternative physical activity to fall back on.

William G. Morgan looked at the sports around him and selected the aspects that he felt best suited his summary.

The ball came from basketball, the net from tennis and the use of hands from handball. While this was a game of volleyball, it was given a competitive tone with the introduction of innings, later called sets, which were borrowed from baseball.

Introducing the sport, Morgan, who served as physical director at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, MassachusettsMintonette,the original name of volleyball-- at the YMCA Physical Directors Conference a year later at Springfield College, Massachusetts.

Although the sport was incomplete without set rules and a format to follow, it did enough to convince the delegation and soon became part of the vast network of YMCAs in the United States under a new name: volleyball (originally denoted by two words).

This established a sport that had its origins in basketball, baseball, tennis and handball and is now practiced by an estimated 800 million people worldwide.

History of volleyball: from the origins to the Olympic Games (4)
A group of ladies playing a game of volleyball in 1900. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Global Reach and Rules

In the years that followed, the rules of the game were laid as volleyball continued to bank on the YMCA's popularity to go global.

With YMCA societies playing a prominent role in regions such asIf, China, Europe, South America and Africa, volleyball would soon spread to these regions.

It was in Asia that it gained strength. In 1913 the growth of the game on the mainland was evident when it was included in the first Far Eastern Games in Manila that year.

It was not until around 1900 that a specially designed, lighter and smaller ball was developed, which opened up completely new tactical and technical possibilities for the sport.

Rules for the game of volleyball.he continued to establish himself over the years; Points per set increased from 21 to 15 points in 1917, the following year the number of players per team was fixed at six, and so on.

A few years later, a new style of offensive play emerged in the Philippines, including what we now call setting and spiking. It would be called a "bomb" or "Filipino bomb" based on the speed at which the ball fell into the opponent's court.

The new tactics also meant that volleyball rules were further refined and unified, including the scoring system and the rule that a maximum of three hits per team is required.

During this time, however, volleyball was largely confined to just a few regions. While there were some national championships in different countries, none had a set set of rules as it varied from region to region.

But all that was to change in 1947.

Founding of an international volleyball association

April 1947 saw the founding of theInternational Volleyball Federation(FIVB).

Representatives from 14 nations - Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Uruguay, the United States and Yugoslavia - met in Paris, led by Frenchman Paul Libaud, to celebrate the unification to found . that would regulate volleyball internationally.

Libaud assumed the role of the FIVB's first President, a position he held until 1984. The first men's volleyball world championships were held in Prague in 1949 and in Moscow in 1952 for women.

Since then, the FIVB has grown into one of the largest sports organizations in the world with 222 member organizations.

While the World Championships continue to be the mega attraction of the game, the FIVB has events such as the FIVB World League, the FIVB World Grand Prix, theFIVB World Championshipand the FIVB Grand Champions Cup added to their roster over the years and eventually became an Olympic sport.

Volleyball at the Olympic Games

With an international body looking after the sport and its growing popularity, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted indoor volleyball Olympic status in 1957.

Volleyball made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games in 1964.

Brazil, the former Soviet Union and Italy have collected the most medals in men's Olympic volleyball (six each), with the South American team leading the way with three gold and three silver medals.

Sports Guide: Investigate Volleyball

Among women's teams, six countries have won the Olympic gold medal in volleyball, with the Soviet Union leading the medal count with six (four golds and two silvers).

Japan and the Soviet Union each played the first four games for the gold medal at the 1964-1980 Summer Olympics.

Japan won the first final on home soil in Tokyo 1964, while the Soviet Union edged them out to win gold at the 1968 and Munich 1972 games. Japan then took their second gold medal at Montreal in 1976.

The Soviet Union added two more gold medals to its tally, with its volleyball players emerging with victories in Moscow 1980 and Seoul 1988, while China won the first of its two or three medals in Los Angeles 1984 and its second in Athens 2004.

Cuba won three consecutive gold medals in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, while the Brazilian women's volleyball team became the third team to win gold medals in the discipline in a row, in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

The United States is the current Olympic champion in women's volleyball after beating Brazil in the 2020 final in Tokyo.

While only six teams played in the women's category at the 1964 edition of the Games, that number doubled in 1988 and has remained so ever since.

Volleyball goes to the beach

Although beach volleyball has its roots in the United States, like its expanded version, the sport has had to wait a little longer to reach the consciousness of a larger community.

What are the origins of beach volleyball?

Beach-VolleyballIt was included in the 1996 Olympic program for the Atlanta Games, a move that helped take the sport's global reach and popularity to new heights.

The United States of America, the birthplace of volleyball, has dominated this event at the Olympics, winning a total of seven gold, two silver, and two bronze medals (men's and women's) to date.

His Olympic arc was followed by the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 1997.

The event is held every two years and Brazil was the most successful country in this event, winning a total of 12 gold medals (men and women) so far.

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