When it comes to any sport, it does not get bigger than the Olympics. Given the fact that the Olympics takes place once in every four years, volleyball matches at the Olympics get a massive fan following from both hardcore supporters as well as those just learning about the sport. The Olympics has both indoor and beach volleyball matches and beach volley arguably has the bigger fan following.
Olympic Volleyball Format
The Olympics has events for men and women in both indoor volleyball and beach volley. A total of 12 teams compete in indoor volleyball while beach volley will see a total of 24 teams compete.
There are different ways to make the shortlist for the indoor volleyball event at the Olympics. The country that is hosting the Olympics automatically makes the shortlist. There is a special Intercontinental Qualifiers event created for the Olympics and the top six teams automatically qualify. The remaining teams are shortlisted based on the top qualifier from each continent.
The qualification process for beach volley is not as straightforward as for indoor volleyball. The host nation, as usual, makes the shortlist along with the winner from the last World Championships. The FIVB Beach Volleyball Olympic Ranking system is used to determine most of the teams who get to qualify. The top 15 teams make the shortlist while the remaining teams get selected based on the following criteria: 2 teams get selected from FIVB Olympic Qualification Tournament and the winning team from each continental cup also make the shortlist.
Indoor volleyball in the Olympics has two groups with each group having a total of 6 teams. Each team plays the other once during the preliminary rounds and in each group, the top four teams make it to the playoffs. The top team in Group A plays the fourth-ranked team in Group B, the second-ranked team in Group A plays the third-ranked team in Group B and so forth. During the preliminary stage, each team gets 3 points if they end up winning 3-1 or 3-0. They get 2 points if they win 3-2 and receive 1 point if they lose by 2-3.
Beach volleyball in the Olympics has six groups with each group having a total of 4 teams during the group stage. The top two teams from each group make it to the round of 16 and so do the two third-place teams who have the most points. A “lucky loser playoffs” take place to determine the final 2 teams in the round of 16. The “lucky loser playoffs” are decided by the two remaining third-place teams battle it out and the winner goes to the round of 16. Winning teams get 2 points, 1 point is assigned for a loss and they will get 0 if the game is forfeited.
The winner of each game during the round of 16 moves to the next stage while the loser goes home. The final match will see the winner take Olympic gold while the loser will have to settle for a silver medal. The third place is determined by having the two losing teams from the semi-finals play each other to determine who gets the bronze medal.
Olympic Volleyball History
The Olympics started hosting indoor volleyball events in 1964 and since then both men’s and women’s events have taken place. Beach volley became an official sport in the Olympics only in 1996.
The United States, Brazil and the ex-Soviet Union have won three Olympic gold medals in indoor volleyball as of 2016. The former Soviet Union also dominated women’s indoor volleyball winning 4 gold medals but in recent years Cuba and China have caught up winning three gold medals each. Brazil has also done well in beach volleyball taking gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
When it comes to beach volleyball, the United States has dominated the competition winning three gold medals in both men’s and women’s divisions. So never count the U.S out of your volleyball betting strategy. The second most dominant team is Brazil who has reached five out of the six finals in the men’s division and four out of the last six finals in the women’s division.