Changing China

Giant on the move

Beach volleyball — the perfect Olympic sport?

August 10, 2008

beach volleyballWhen beach volleyball joined the Olympics in 1996, it was ridiculed in some circles as being an unashamed ploy to boost viewing figures with hotties in bikinis and beach dudes in bermudas.

Roll on 12 years and you could argue beach volleyball is the perfect modern Olympic sport.

With the International Olympic Committee worrying its audience is getting older, the pumped-up atmosphere of beach volleyball with its rock music and cheerleaders is much more interesting to younger watchers than, say, fencing.

Bare flesh might annoy the puritans but it shows just how muscular and fit the athletes are and sells a fun, outdoor lifestyle that is more than welcome in a world of Wii sports.

Beach volleyball is easy on joints, has no history of doping, is simple to learn and all you need is a ball, a net and a beach. And not even really a beach. In landlocked, snowy Switzerland, several schools have built their own courts because they are enamoured of the sport. The bet is paying off — they have sent three teams to Beijing.

Beach volleyball, along with new arrival BMX biking, might not have graced the olive groves of Ancient Olympia but they should be here to stay.

After yesterday, you could even say it has a presidential seal of approval…

PHOTO: Kerry Walsh of the U.S. hits the ball against Japan during their women’s preliminary beach volleyball match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 10, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria


I’d second that about the beach. There are plenty of artifical beaches in Berlin with people hanging out playing volleyball.
It’s a very good Olympic sport, I think.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

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