Sport Focus: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Beach Volleyball

April 14, 2020

While Beach Volleyball made its Commonwealth Games debut at Gold Coast 2018, its history as a sport on the global stage goes back much further.  To round off our ‘Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future’ Sport Focus, here are 12 things you might not know about the sport:

1. Beach Volleyball appeared at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017 before making its senior Games debut eight months later at Gold Coast 2018.

2. Emma Waldie and Jennifer Lee were the first Beach Volleyball players ever to represent Team Scotland at a Commonwealth Games event as they took 4th place at the Bahamas 2017 Youth Games.

3. Robin Miedzybrodzki and Seain Cook were the first Scottish players on court at a Commonwealth Games, winning against Sri Lanka on 6 April 2018. Scotland’s women, Lynne Beattie and Mel Coutts,  followed an hour later with a win over Grenada. Both teams went on to reach the quarter-finals.

4. Scotland’s Lynne Beattie captained Team GB’s Indoor Volleyball squad at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

5. While Indoor Volleyball was invented in 1895, the first recorded game of Beach Volleyball was in 1915 at the Outrigger Canoe Club on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.

6. Early Beach Volleyball games consisted of six players per side. The modern two-per-side game is said to have come about when only four people had arrived for a game at Santa Monica Athletic Club in California and it was decided to try playing two a side until the other players arrived. With fewer players on the court, height became less of an advantage and the format caught on. The two per side game is now the only format played at international level.

7. Beach Volleyball was first included at the Olympic Games at Atlanta 1996 where Brazil won the women’s title and USA the men’s. The USA men’s pair included Karch Kiraly, who remains the only player (man or woman) to have won Olympic gold medals in both Indoor and Beach Volleyball. Brazil and the USA have dominated Olympic competition, winning 20 of the 30 Olympic medals awarded to date between them.

8. Beach volleyball balls are water-resistant and slightly larger than indoor balls, with a rougher external texture and a lower internal pressure to better suit the outdoor playing conditions.

9. While a Beach Volleyball side has two players instead of the six per side of the Indoor game, the court is 8 m × 16 m, just one metre shorter and two metres narrower than an Indoor Volleyball court – that’s a lot of ground to cover per player!

10. The first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour were held in 1997.

11. Alongside the Olympics and Commonwealth Games the sport has also been added to other multi-sport events including the Pan American Games, Central American and Caribbean Games, Asian Games, Pacific Games, African Games and World Student Games.

12. Beach Volleyball is back on the programme for the Trinbago 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games and for the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 where it will take place in a city-centre location.

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