Olympic Games


Beach Volleyball is a discipline fully recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and included in the Olympic programs due to its positive results in participations, popularity, gender equity, distribution of medals, athlete welfare, low level impact with the environment, relatively low costs to set-up a venue and universality. This means that the most important media and the most ardent fans follow the sport right through to the medal matches, and it was no surprise that Volleyball and Beach Volleyball were among the best supported events at the Olympic Games.

As a result of the 117th IOC session in Singapore (June 2005) and a research conducted by the IOC, Beach Volleyball and Volleyball getimagecalowschrecorded the best TV viewer/hours (3.5 Billion) at the 2004 Olympic Games followed by Aquatics, Basketball, Athletics, Gymnastics, etc. Moreover, Beach Volleyball and Volleyball alone were able to sell 10.3% of the total tickets available for 28 sports. Beach Volleyball succeeded in selling 76% of the available tickets (approximately 160,000 spectators).

Based on the remarks of the FIVB officials, the FIVB has communicated to the IOC the FIVB 2008 post-Games report and revised the Olympic Games Technical requirements, the IOC Specific Competition Venue, and the Design Standards guidelines in order to best implement all necessary improvements for the Olympic Beach Volleyball tournaments in London 2012.

Having experienced already 4 extremely successful editions of the Beach Volleyball competition at the Olympic Games, the next edition in London is being seen as a next step towards further success. The history speaks for itself:

Road to london 2012

For almost every athlete the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of their sport. To have the chance to perform in an Olympic arena is an honor not many athletes will ever have, so the desire to reach such an event is limitless. road_to_london_2012-250-200

Only 16 years have passed since Beach Volleyball made its Olympic debut in Atlanta and in 2012 the Olympic Games return to London for the first time since 1948 as this historic city hosts the biggest sporting event on the planet. Volleyball and Beach Volleyball were there, with both events having taken place in two of the capital's most famous landmarks.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for preparing and staging the 2012 Games. LOCOG is led by Sebastian Coe (Chair) and Paul Deighton (Chief Executive). It is based in Canary Wharf along with the Olympic Delivery Authority. LOCOG has committed to stage an inspirational and memorable Games, where everyone is invited, can take part and get involved in the most exciting event in the world.


Diversity has been a key reason why London, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, was chosen to host the Games in the bidding process.

central_londonThe Beach Volleyball tournaments at the 2012 Olympic Games was held in central London from 28 July to 9 August. The Beach Volleyball event site was the spectacular, iconic location of Horse Guards Parade, only a few minutes’ walk away from major tourist attractions in the heart of London, while St James Park, opposite the venue, was used for broadcasters and media. Also the training courts were located within short walking distance in St James’ Park. The venue capacity was 15,000. The Parade ground is used commonly for ceremonial events (e.g. Trooping the Colour) and was 3 minutes away from Olympic Family hotels and 22 minutes away from the Olympic Village.

test event for the 2012 olympic gamesst_james_park-300-212

An Olympic Beach Volleyball Test event (Women’s intercontinental exhibition) was held on August 9-14 2011 in Horse Guards Parade to verify the status of key functional areas of the tournament (competition, venue, sport presentation, results, staff and officials, etc.) and also to promote the sport in the United Kingdom.

Three courts (one centre court and two warm up courts) were built to competition standard at the venue in Games-Time positions and all had lighting for night matches. One warm up court was used for a preliminary round match and a lucky loser match. Two training courts were also available.

A country quota of 2 teams applied, although FIVB and LOCOG reserved the right to expand this quota depending on the final entry list.

Athletes participating in the Olympic Test event were given an opportunity to step in as advocates for our sport and contribute to the success of Beach Volleyball at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Test event could count on the participation of twenty-four (24) competitive teams representing fifteen (15) countries from five (5) continents. Among them there were top ranked teams such as Kessy-Ross (USA), Xue-Xi Zhang, Liliane – Vieira (BRA), Viavian – Lima (BRA), Candelas – Garcia (MEX), Santiago – Acevedo (PUR), Natalie Cook – Hinchley (AUS), etc.

The outstanding performance of the 2 GBR teams that have got 4th and 5th place should be noted. Moreover, from the new participating countries, Vanuatu team got the 7th place going outside the pool phase, which is a tremendous achievement.

The competition format was the same as the Olympic Games:

Preliminary phase (9-11 August 2011)

Twenty four (24) teams competed in six (6) pools, with four (4) teams per pool played over three (3) days. By Round Robin, the two (2) best teams of each pool, plus two (2) best 3rd ranked teams in the pools, directly advanced to the round of 16. The other two (2) vacancies were determined by Lucky Loser matches between the remaining four (4) 3rd ranked teams.

Final elimination phase (12-14 August 2011)

Single elimination format with 16 teams played over 3 days (12-14 August) until 4 teams remain in play. The semi-finals were played between four teams coming from the single elimination bracket. The final matches for 1st/2nd place were played by the winning teams of the semi-finals while the 3rd/4th place matches were played by the losing teams of the semi-finals. The semi-final and final matches were played on the 14th August, 2011.

Although the goal of this event was initially to test only the technical aspects, over the months preceding its start, it became a high profile event as VISA supported the event as the Title Sponsor. Media was engaged and provided a tremendous exposure, and spectators enjoyed its ambience. This event was rated cluster one in the hierarchy of the Olympic test events and received an exceptional attention from the IOC, LOCOG and Media.

The legacy of the Test event will be preserved using the sand to set-up a minimum of ten Beach Volleyball courts in London. The same concept will be used for the sand that will be used at the 2012 Olympic Games.

For more details concerning the Test Event, please click here!



RIO 2016

The 2016 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball tournaments will be held in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro in a stadium of 15,000 seats capacity.

The Olympic Games Beach Volleyball tournaments will be hosted in Copacabana, where Mr. Samaranch and other IOC members attended the Beach Volleyball World Championships in 1993. This event encouraged IOC to include Beach Volleyball in the Olympic Games program at the 1996 Olympic Games in USA.


beijingThe FIVB and BOCOG have spared no efforts to overcome the already excellent results of the previous editions of 5-ring tournaments.

The venue with a capacity of 12,000 spectators has been set-up in Chaoyang Park within the 4th ring of the roads in Beijing.

Beijing 2008, promotional LOCOG videoThe Beach Volleyball tournaments lasted 14 days (instead of 6 days in Atlanta, 10 days in Sydney and 12 days in Athens) due to the great success of audience and media they obtained. Entertainment programs have been implemented with the involvement of 3 groups of professional dancers, DJ's, mascots, etc. More than 100 persons have trained months to complement with choreographic, music and spectators contest the spectacular games performed by the best athletes in the world. A test event was scheduled on 13-19 August 2007 to evaluate the venue, facilities, results system and other important aspects of the competition.

All matches at the Olympic Games (with the exception of 2 lucky loser games) were played on the centre courts and they have been televised. The format was tailored to satisfy the needs of the TV right holders that could broadcast every day matches involving the teams of their countries but also other matches creating momentum towards the final days of the competition.

In Beijing, 24 men and 24 women’s teams competed in representing 5 continents. The Olympic Ranking has been determined by taking a team’s best eight results in the qualification period (from 1st of January 2007 until the 20th of July, 2008) for a maximum of two men’s and two women’s teams per country. The host country has been granted 1 vacancy and a special seeding placement while the universality principle has been implemented through the Olympic Qualification formula. Only the best result between two eventual Continental Championships final event organized by a Confederation and recognized by the FIVB counted towards the qualification process. In this edition of the 2008 Olympic Games, the total number of spectators were around 250,000 and there are a total of 108 matches, comprising 54 men’s and 54 women’s.


Misty May-Treanor competed in season 7 (2008) of the ABC series Dancing With the Stars. Her partner was Maksim Chmerkovskiy. After May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon during a training session, she and Chmerkovskiy were forced to withdraw from the competition. She underwent surgery on October 7, 2008. She also was a special guest star on Wizards of Waverly Place; the episode premiered March 1, 2009. The episode is called "Art Teacher". Misty May-Treanor also appeared alongside her volleyball partner Kerri Walsh on the show Shaq Vs. in August 2009. On April 6th Misty co-hosted a game of BrainSurge and the episode will premiere sometime in 2010.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misty_May-Treanor)

2008 Beijing Olympics women’s medalists

Gold: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (USA)
Silver: Jia Tian and Jie Wang (CHN)
Bronze: Zhang Xi and Xue Chen (CHN)
2008 Beijing Olympics men’s medalists

Gold: Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers (USA)
Silver: Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes (BRA) Bronze: Emanuel and Ricardo (Brazil)

ATHENS 2004athens

In 2004, the Olympic beach volleyball competition runs over 12 days in Athens with 24 men’s and 24 women’s teams competing. More than 60 countries took part in the qualifying process on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour. With its new 10,000-seat main stadium built in the style of a traditional Greek amphitheatre, the beach volleyball venue and its surroundings provided an amazingly entertaining atmosphere in Athens. For the first time in an Olympic Games, an entertainment program was implemented with the involvement of 12 dancers, DJs, multilingual announcers and production managers.

2004 Athens Olympics women’s medalists

Gold: Kerri Walsh and Misty May (USA)
Silver: Adriana Behar and Shelda (BRA)
Bronze: Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs (USA)
2004 Athens Olympics men’s medalists

Gold: Ricardo and Emanuel (BRA)
Silver: Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera (ESP)
Bronze: Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel (SUI)

SYDNEY 2000sydneyog

Four years after the overwhelming success of the first Olympic experience, beach volleyball becomes even more of a hit at Sydney 2000. The top 24 men’s and 24 women’s teams in the world competed on Bondi Beach in a wonderful stadium seating 10,000 spectators and with modern facilities, offering a top-class event to the Olympic family of players, fans, media, sponsors. Teams from more than 50 countries took part in the qualifying process.

2000 Sydney Olympics women’s medalists

Gold: Natalie Cook and Kerri-Ann Pottharst (AUS)
Silver: Adriana Behar and Shelda (BRA)
Bronze: Sandra Pires and Adriana Samuel (BRA)
2000 Sydney Olympics men’s medalists

Gold: Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana (USA)
Silver: Zé Marco and Ricardo (BRA)
Bronze: Jörg Ahmann and Axel Hager (GER)

Natalie Cook wrote a book in 2001 (published by Hardie Grant Books), titled “Go Girl: An Inspiring Journey from Bronze to Gold”. It is currently available on Amazon.com

ATLANTA 1996atlanta_1996

In 1996, the first Olympic Beach Volleyball competition was held in Atlanta and tickets were sold out!! Twenty-four men’s teams and 18 women’s teams competed for Olympic medals on Atlanta Beach in July in a 10,000-seat stadium, with over 107,000 spectators the six-day event. Some 600 athletes representing 42 countries take part in the Olympic qualifying process. Karch Kiraly became a three-time Olympic gold medalist and first Olympic champion in Volleyball and Beach Volleyball.

Atlanta Olympics women’s medalists

Gold: Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires (BRA)
Silver: Mônica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel (BRA)
Bronze: Natalie Cook and Kerri-Ann Pottharst (AUS)
Atlanta Olympics men’s medalists

Gold: Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes (USA)
Silver: Mike Dodd and Mike Witmarsh (USA)
Bronze: John Child and Mark Heese (CAN)
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