Olympic sport since 1964
Volleyball, like basketball, is a sport whose origin is known almost to
the day. Oddly enough, both sports were invented at the same college and within
a few years of one another. Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G.
Morgan, a student at Springfield College and a director of the YMCA at Holyoke,
Massachusetts. The game was originally called "Mintonette".
|Argentina's Gustavo Porporato (3) jumps for the ball against
Finland's Konstantin Shumov (R) during their World League Volleyball match
in Kuopio, Finland July 28, 2006. [Reuters]
Volleyball quickly spread around
the world and became more popular in other countries than in the United States.
The F¨¦d¨¦ration Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) was formed in 1946. The sport
was introduced to the Olympics in 1964 by the Japanese, although it was never
contested as a demonstration sport at the Olympics. No country has been truly
dominant in volleyball, although the Soviet Union has won the most medals.
Originally the Japanese had the world's best women players while the United
States had the best men's team in the world throughout the 1980s.
Volleyball has now reached great heights of popularity in the United States
and Brazil, largely thanks to the discipline of beach volleyball.
The beach volleyball phenomenon, although hugely visible, is still just in
its infancy. From the first FIVB World Tour event just over ten years ago, to
the overwhelming spectator and television success of 'Beach' at the Atlanta 1996
and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, beach volleyball has opened up Volleyball to a
completely new market.