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Olympic Games Countdown - Tokyo lights volleyball’s Olympic torch

 
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 19, 2016 - In the first of a series in the run-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the FIVB looks back at previous Olympic volleyball tournaments, starting with the very first one, in Tokyo in 1964.

Recognised by the IOC as an Olympic sport in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1957, volleyball was officially included in the Olympic Games seven years later. In the beginning there were 10 men’s teams participating apart from 1972 in Munich where there were 12 teams and in 1976 in Montreal where Egypt’s withdrawal limited the number of countries to nine. Since Seoul in 1988 there have been 12 teams in the men’s competition.

The women, meanwhile started with six teams in 1964 before expanding to eight from 1968 to 1992 before increasing to its current participation level of 12 in 1996.

Volleyball’s debut at the Olympic Games was truly enthralling and the well informed Japanese spectators and TV viewers worldwide were enthusiastic witnesses.

The men’s competition was a three-way battle between USSR, Czechoslovakia and the hosts, with each beating the other: USSR beat Czechoslovakia, who beat Japan, who in turn beat the Soviets. Japan’s second defeat, by Hungary, relegated them to the bronze medal position, leaving USSR to take gold on points difference from Czechoslovakia, repeating the one-two finish of the 1962 Men’s World Championship.

The women’s tournament went as expected. If Japan could win the 1962 World Championship in Moscow, how could they not triumph at home? And so it proved. The USSR had been counting on the Olympic Games for a return to their gold medal-winning ways, but their team was no match for Hirofumi Daimatsu’s women. Indeed, in six matches Japan conceded only one set, to Poland who finished third. The Soviet women, who from 1958 to 1962 had been the dominant force in international competition, had to be content with the silver medal.

After the Games the Japanese women’s captain, 31-year-old Masae Kasai, was invited to meet Japan's Prime Minister, Eisaku Sato, and during their meeting she confessed that, because of the difficult training regime for the Olympics, she had found it hard to meet any men. Sato insisted on helping her, and arranged a meeting with the man who later became her husband.

Final standings
Mem              Matches       Sets


                        W        L          W        L          PF       PA

1 SOV             8          1          25       5          415     279
2 CZE              8          1          26       10       486     399
3 JPN              7          2          22       12       475     372
4 ROM            6          3          19       15       432     394
5 BUL             5          4          20       16       464     429
6 HUN             4          5          18       18       449     474
7 BRA             3          6          13       23       410     474
8 HOL             2          7          11       24       378     482

Women          Matches       Sets

                        W        L          W        L          PF       PA

1 JPN              5          0          15       1          238     93
2 SOV             4          1          12       3          212     97
3 POL             3          2          10       6          180     162
4 ROM            2          3          6          9          140     172
5 USA             1          4          3          12       98       213
6 KOR             0          5          0          15       94       225

Only the Brazilian men's team have featured in every one of the 13 editions to date.

The list of men’s medallists is dominated by Russia (four gold, three silver and three bronze) with their last gold coming at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Their female counterparts are equally prolific, topping the medal count with four gold medals.

In all 14 nations in the men’s competition and 13 nations in the women’s have received a medal with seven and five winning gold respectively, the latest being Russia men and Brazil women in 2012.

Beach volleyball was inaugurated into the Olympic Games in 1996.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games
The following countries are qualified for the volleyball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Men's teams

Match programme - men
Women's teams

Match programme - men

As hosts, Brazil were the first country to qualify for next year's Olympics.

They will be joined by the top two teams from the FIVB Volleyball World Cup Japan 2015 (USA and Italy in the men's competition and China and Serbia in the women's competition) and five further teams per gender coming from the five winners of each Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament.

The qualification tournaments for Asian teams will also double as a World Olympic Qualification Tournaments and will take place in Japan between the periods of May 14 to June 5, 2016. The hosts will be joined - per gender - by the top three ranked teams from Asia according to the FIVB Men’s World Ranking as well as the second and third placed teams from the European Olympic Qualification Tournament, the second placed team from the South American Olympic Qualification Tournament and the second placed team from the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament. The best ranked Asian team and the top three ranked teams from these tournaments will qualify for the Olympics.

The final vacancy per gender will be decided at the Intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournaments due to be held in the period from May 14 to June 5, 2016. The third placed team from the South American Olympic Qualification Tournament, the third placed team from the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament and the second and third placed teams from the African Olympic Qualification Tournament will compete for the final berth.

Rio 2016 qualification process - men
Rio 2016 qualification process - women

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