What’s the deal?
Teams of two hang out in the sand and hit a ball over a net in such a way that their opponents can’t hit it back. A beach volleyball match consists of three games called “sets,” and the team that wins two out of three wins. The first two sets are played to 21 points. If a third set is needed, it’s just 15. To win the set, teams not only have to get the right number of points, but they must also be ahead of their opponents by two points.
Men and women each have their own tournament, with a pool and then a single-elimination bracket. Oh, and the men wear tank tops and shorts, and the women wear bikinis. Nobody’s going to point out that fact to you during the Games. Not at all.
Five reasons to watch:
- It’s at the Copacabana Beach. Legendary scenery. You’ll also have Barry Manilow in your head.
- When just two people can dig a spiked ball and manage to return it in three hits, it’s pretty amazing.
- Do you think pro basketball players can do these types of vertical jumps in sand?
- Because you’ve forgotten that there’s a men’s event too.
- So you can debate on average who shows more square inches of skin: men or women.
Everyone’s going talking about:
Three-time gold medallist Kerri Walsh Jennings of the US is not competing with Misty May-Treanor this Olympics. BTW, her new partner’s name is April Ross, an Olympic veteran and silver medalist in her own right.
If you’ve got The Feverr, you’re watching:
The Brazilians. They’re tough, and they’re on their home turf. They’ll be bringing their A game for sure.
Potential drinking game:
Anytime an announcer comments on the women’s uniforms, drink.
[We do not recommend drinking every time teammates slap each other on the butt.]
The perfect snack:
Chocolate dipped frozen bananas
Learn more about the sport from its international federation. If you’re lucky enough to live in proximity to a beach, look for beach volleyball nets and leagues there.
Want to see the game from the best seat in the house? Become a referee!