Olympia 2021: Volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics – schedule, participants, status

Agatha Bednarczuk of Brazil (left) and Laura Ludwig of Germany (right) at the beach volleyball final in Rio de Janeiro 2016

© Sebastian Kanert / D

Volleyball and beach volleyball have been a part of the Olympic Games for decades. All information on majors and schedules.

Tokyo – Volleyball is an Olympic discipline, divided into two sports. In addition to classic volleyball, there is also beach volleyball, but German teams are only eligible for one sport.

Olympia 2021: Volleyball as an Olympic discipline

Indoor volleyball was first played at the 1924 Olympics. Americans demonstrated the sport, but indoor volleyball was not part of the program. After the formation of the FIVB Volleyball Association, volleyball players organized a tournament in 1957. The sport attracted the attention of Olympic players and was first included in the Olympic program in 1964.

The Olympic volleyball format has existed only since 1972 – previously all volleyball teams played against each other, but this tournament mode made it possible to determine the winners in advance. Because of this, the competition was divided into a preliminary round and a final round. The popularity of the sport continued to emerge in the ensuing years. Twelve teams have been playing for the men’s and women’s wins since 1996.

Compared to other Olympic disciplines, there are no clear favorites in indoor volleyball. In previous tournaments, the Brazilians dominated, but the gold medals also went to teams from Russia (2012) and the United States (2008). In the medal table, Russia took first place with four gold medals, followed by Brazil in second place with three gold medals. Germany is in tenth place.

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Olympia 2021: Beach volleyball as a classic sport

In 1992, beach volleyball was a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. Four years later, the Olympic athletes included the sport in the Olympic program. As in classic volleyball, all confederations are represented and 24 teams play for the gold medal.

In contrast to classic volleyball, the shape of beach volleyball shows a clear dominance of some nations. Since the discipline was introduced into the Olympic programme, six of the twelve gold medals have gone to the United States and three to Brazil. Most of the silver medal winners are Brazilian teams.

German teams have succeeded in beach volleyball so far. The Germans won their first medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. After this first success, Germany won two more Olympic golds – in the men’s team, Julius Brink and Jonas Rickermann won the gold in 2012, while the women’s team led by Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst won the gold in 2016.

Olympia 2021: Tournament status, rules and schedule

In indoor volleyball, six players from two teams play against each other. The ball must not touch the ground in half of the match and the ball must be in the opponent’s half when it touches the ball for the third time. Whoever wins 3 sets wins the game. The combination is decided when the team has 25 points and is at least 2 points ahead of the opponent.

In beach volleyball, the winner is determined after two to three sets. Compared with indoor volleyball, the winner needs only 21 points, but also leads by 2 points. In both variants of volleyball, the last set can only be played up to 15 points.

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An exact timetable for indoor volleyball and beach volleyball for the 2021 Olympics has yet to be determined. So far, the following days have been set:

  • Beach volleyball: July 24 to August 7
  • Indoor volleyball: from July 24 to August 8

Ariake Arena is designed for indoor volleyball games.

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