First Olympic Appearance: 1996
by Gerry Brown and Mark Zurlo
Though beach volleyball will make its third Olympic appearance at Athens, it will be only the second Olympic event ever held on a beach. In 1996 when the sport made its Olympic debut at Atlanta, the competition was held at "Atlanta Beach," a man-made sand court that was located over 100 miles from a real coastline.
In 2000, controversy arose when the sport's officials mandated that athletes wear skimpier outfits on the court. A recent rule change requires the female competitors to wear bikinis with tight tops and briefer briefs.
Beach volleyball first appeared in the early 1920s in Santa Monica, Calif., as a recreational sport for families.
In Beach Volleyball, two teams of two players play on a sand court measuring 16 by 8 meters.
In Beijing, the beach volleyball competition will be held at the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground, a temporary venue that will seat 12,000 fans. The site was originally an industrial park. In addition to the stadium court, the venue also features two warm-up courts and six training courts. Since its Olympic debut in 1996, beach volleyball has seen immense growth in popularity, due in part to the success of the professional leagues such as the AVP.