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Olympic Games

Beach Volleyball is a popular sport at the Olympic Games

About the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Games are currently held every two years, with Summer and Winter Olympic Games alternating, although they occur every four years within their respective seasonal games.

The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.

The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Games for ice and snow sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a physical disability, and the Youth Olympic Games for teenage athletes. 

The IOC has had to adapt to the varying economic, political, and technological realities of the 20th century. As a result, the Olympics shifted away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to allow participation of professional athletes. 

The growing importance of the mass media created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercialization of the Games. World Wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games. Large boycotts during the Cold War limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Games.

The Olympic Movement consists of international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and organizing committees for each specific Olympic Games. As the decision-making body, the IOC is responsible for choosing the host city for each Olympic Games. The host city is responsible for organizing and funding a celebration of the Games consistent with the Olympic Charter. 

The Olympic program, consisting of the sports to be contested at the Games, is also determined by the IOC. The celebration of the Games encompasses many rituals and symbols, such as the Olympic flag and torch, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. There are over 13,000 athletes that compete at the Summer and summer Olympics in 33 different sports and nearly 400 events. The first, second, and third place finishers in each event receive gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively.

The Games have grown in scale to the point that nearly every nation is represented. Such growth has created numerous challenges, including boycotts, doping, bribery of officials, and terrorism. Every two years, the Olympics and its media exposure provide unknown athletes with the chance to attain national, and in particular cases, international fame. The Games also constitute a major opportunity for the host city and country to showcase themselves to the world.

Atlanta 1996

The first Olympic Beach Volleyball competition takes place from July 23 to 28 in Atlanta Beach, in a 10,000-seat stadium. Twenty-four men’s teams and eighteen women’s teams compete for Olympic medals as over 107,000 spectators attend the event. AVP teams dominate the men's Olympic competition with a gold and silver medal sweep. Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes take home the gold as Kiraly becomes a three-time gold medalist and the first indoor and outdoor Olympic champion in volleyball. Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh win the silver medal. Canadians John Child and Mark Heese outduel Americans Sinjin Smith and Carl Henkel for the bronze medal to prevent three American teams from appearing on the podium. 

In the women's competition, Brazil dominates with Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires beating fellow Brazilians Mônica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel for the gold medal. Australians Natalie Cook and Kerri-Ann Pottharst win the bronze.

In November the IOC confirms that Beach Volleyball will be included in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Sydney 2000

The second Olympic Beach Volleyball competition takes place from September 16 to 26 in a specially constructed 10,000 seat venue at Bondi Beach near Sydney, Australia. Twenty-four men's and women's teams compete for Olympic medals. Despite the perfect score in qualifying, Brazilians Jose Loiola and Emanuel Rego finish a dissapointing 9th. The last team to qualify, Americans Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana win the gold over Brazilians Zé Marco and Ricardo Costa. The 15th-seeded German team of Jörg Ahmann and Axel Hager are surprise bronze medalists. 

Surprise women's top-seeded Australians Natalie Cook and Kerri-Ann Pottharst held true to their seed in winning the gold medal over the second-seeded Brazilians Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede. Brazilians once again dominate the women's competition as Sandra Pires and Adriana Samuel win the bronze.

Athens 2004

The third Olympic Beach Volleyball competition takes place from August 14 to 26 in a specially constructed 10,000 seat facility within the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex in Athens, Greece. Twenty-four men's and women's teams compete for Olympic medals. Top-seeded Brazilian Emanuel Rego, competing in his third Olympic Games takes the gold medal with new partner Ricardo Santos. Spain's 15th-seeded Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera are the surprise Silver Medalists while the 5th-seeded Swiss pair of Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel take the bronze. 

In the women's competition, top-seeded Americans Misty May and Kerri Walsh capture the gold medal without dropping a set. The Brazilian women continue their streak of medals with second-seeded Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar taking the silver as they did in Sydney, four years earlier. Fourth-seeded American Holly McPeak, also playing in her third Olympic Games, wins the bronze along with her new partner Elaine Youngs.

Beijing 2008

The fourth Olympic Beach Volleyball competition takes place from August 9 to 22 in a specially constructed 12,200 seat venue at Chaoyang Park in Beijing, China. Twenty-four men's and women's teams compete for Olympic medals. The United States becomes the first nation to sweep gold medals in both genders. Second-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers won the gold medal over Brazil's fourth-seeded pair of Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz Magalhães. Defending gold medalists, third-seeded Emanuel Rego, playing in his fourth Olympic Games, and Ricardo Santos of Brazil captured the bronze. It was the third medal for Ricardo who also won a silver in 2000. 

In the women's competition, Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh become the first team, men or women, to successfully repeat as gold medalists. The host nation displays their upcoming presence at the top level of beach volleyball with top seeded Jia Tian, playing her third Olympic Games, taking the silver medal with new partner Jie Wang and fourth seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang, the youngest team in the competition at 19 years and 23 years, respectively, taking the bronze. The two medals were the first ever for China in beach volleyball.

London 2012

Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh become the first team, men or women, to successfully repeat a third straight gold medal.

Rio 2016
Olympic Games will be held in Rio, Brazil