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Learn More About Volleyball

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What is the history of volleyball?

In 1895, William G. Morgan sought to create a new game with less physical contact than basketball (invented only a few years before) for his class of businessmen at the YMCA. By borrowing elements of baseball, basketball, tennis, and handball, Morgan created a game that he called “mintonette.” After the initial demonstration, a player commented that the men appeared to “volley” the ball over the net, which convinced Morgan to change the name.

Gameplay changed in 1916 when the sport reached the Philippines; players created a more aggressive style of scoring, with one teammate setting up another to smash the ball into the opponent's side. They called it a "bomba" or kills shot. That same year, the YMCA introduced volleyball to the NCAA, making it a competitive sport in universities across the country.

The first world championships for men's teams took place in 1949, and women's in 1952. It's popular in Brazil, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia; there are nearly 800 million players worldwide, with 46 in the United States alone.

Volleyball at the Olympic Games

A demonstration match took place in 1924 by the United States but didn't receive official Olympic status until 1964; the formation of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball, combined with the creation of several continental confederations helped boost the sport's awareness. Beach volleyball entered the Games in 1996.

Since it's inclusion, the Soviet Union has won more medals than any other country, with Brazil and the United States not far behind. Brazil has also won more total medals in beach volleyball, but the United States has twice as many golds.

What are the current Olympic volleyball events?

Current events include men's indoor, women's indoor, men's beach volleyball, and women's beach volleyball.

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Volleyball