Things to know about the volleyball competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:
THE ABSOLUTE BASICS
- Both the men’s and women’s tournaments feature 12 teams divided into two groups, with games played in a free-for-all format. The top four from each group advance to the knockout phase.
- Matches are played to the best of five sets, and each set is played to 25 points. If a match is tied at two sets each, the final set is played at 15 points.
- Teams employ three players at the net and three at the back of the court. Players in the back cannot move towards the net to block or shoot.
- The player in the ‘libero’ specialist position, dressed in a different colored uniform, plays an exclusively defensive role.
HOW MANY MEDALS?
There are two sets of medals, one for women and one for men.
WHAT HAPPENED IN RÍO?
The Brazilian men’s team defeated Italy in straight sets to earn their third gold medal in the sport, with forward Wallace de Souza delivering a barrage of winning spikes, serves and blocks.
In the women’s competition, China beat a rising Serbian team in four sets to claim their country’s third Olympic volleyball gold medal.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN TOKYO?
Brazil and China are favorites to defend their titles.
In the men’s event, the United States, Poland and Russia will also be chasing the podium, while on the women’s side the United States, Brazil and Serbia are expected to push the Chinese to the finish.
For the first time in Olympic history, the volleyball competition will conclude with the women’s final on August 8, just hours before the Closing Ceremony and a day after the men’s gold is decided.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?
The men’s competition takes place from July 24 to August 7 and the women’s competition from July 25 to August 8.
WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?
Tokyo Ariake Arena, a sports and cultural center in the Ariake district of Tokyo.
HOW DO WE GET HERE?
The sport was first introduced as a ‘mintonette’ by William G Morgan to older members of his YMCA gym in Massachusetts in 1895. It eventually spread globally, leading to the establishment of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) in 1947. Volleyball for both men and women became an official Olympic sport at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
WELL FANCY THAT
Oct. On February 23, 1964, nearly everyone near a television in Japan tuned in to witness the host country beat the Soviet Union in sets followed by women’s volleyball gold at the Komazawa Olympic Park.
Almost 60 years later, the 66.8% viewership rating remains the most watched sporting event in Japanese television history.
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