Olympic Volleyball Facts

By Christina Martinez

Every four years, the Olympics come around with two weeks of sports and competition. The game of volleyball is one of those sports mixed in with gymnastics, swimming and track events. Volleyball has two distinctions--beach and indoor. Both of these disciplines are played at the Olympics.


Olympic volleyball gets its rules from the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). An indoor team may consist of up to 12 players, a coach, assistant coach, trainer and doctor. In official competition, a beach volleyball team can only consist of two players. For world competition, there isn't any coaching allowed. Three balls are used during the game, each being exchanged out during play. Six ball retrievers are positioned in both beach and indoor volleyball. They're positioned at each corner of the boundary lines and behind each referee.


Beach volleyball teams at the Olympics are composed of either two men or two women. Indoor volleyball, which also awards separate medals for men's and women's teams, consists of six players on the court for each team. Whether indoor or beach, the men's net is set at 7 feet, 11-5/8 inches high and the women's net is set at 7 feet, 4-1/4 inches.

History of Indoor

Indoor volleyball began as an Olympic sport for both men and women in the 1964 Tokyo Games. For the women, Japan won gold, the USSR won silver and Poland won bronze. The United States came in fifth place. For the men, the USSR won gold, Czechoslovakia won silver and Japan won bronze. The United States came in ninth place.

History of Beach

Beach volleyball came into the Olympics as a sport for men and women in the 1996 Atlanta games. The United States men won both gold and silver in beach while Canada won bronze. For the women, Brazil won gold and silver while Australia won the bronze medal.


Indoor volleyball at the Olympics is played best of five sets. Each set is played to 25 but if a fifth set is needed, it's only played to 15. A team must win a set by two points and points are given by rally scoring. In beach volleyball, the game is played as best of three sets. The first two sets are played to 21 and the last set, if necessary is played to 15. A team must win by two points.


About the Author

Christina Martinez has been writing professionally since 2007. She's been published in the California State University at Fullerton newspaper, "The Daily Titan." Her writing has also appeared in "Orange County's Best" magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and print journalism from California State University.

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