1950s & 60s
1920s, 30s & 40s

Biography of Beach Volleyball


The FIVB unveils a dynamic ďgladiator-styleĒ visual for the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour. The innovative visual brilliantly encapsulates the drama, excitement and powerful image of Beach Volleyball by focusing on two of the stars of the sport captured in spectacular action poses in front of a fan-packed coliseum. The visual is created after invaluable input from SWATCH and feedback from officials, federations, promoters, players and sponsors.

The 2009 Men's SWATCH FIVB World Tour is won by Germany's Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann who picked up their share of the US$7.7 million prize money that was spread across the season. They also won the SWATCH FIVB World Championship in Stavanger, Norway rounding out a successful first year for the team.

Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca win the women's tour, and maintain Brazil's grip on the competion whilst USA's Jen Kessy and April Ross were victorious at the Women's SWATCH FIVB World Championship following in the footsteps of fellow American's and former champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.


The fourth Olympic Beach Volleyball competition at Beijing 2008 again sees 24 womenís and 24 menís teams competing against each other, this time over 14 days (after six continuous days in Atlanta, 10 days in Sydney and 12 in Athens) of action-packed fun on the sand. There are a total of 108 matches, comprising 54 menís and 54 womenís. The 12,000-seat Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground is the stunning venue for the Olympic Beach Volleyball Tournaments.

Beijing Olympics womenís medallists
Gold: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (USA)
Silver: Jia Tian and Jie Wang (China)
Bronze: Zhang Xi and Xue Chen (China)
Beijing Olympics menís medallists
Gold: Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers (USA)
Silver:  Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes (Brazil)
Bronze: Emanuel and Ricardo (Brazil)

The SWATCH FIVB World Tour sees a record US$8.325 million distributed in prize money and bonus pool money. There are six Grand Slam events, 16 double-gender events, five menís single-gender events and four womenís single-gender events.

The FIVB and SWATCH renew their Beach Volleyball sponsorship agreement, extending until 2012 a successful partnership that first began in 2003. SWATCH will be the official time-keeper and title sponsor of the 2009-2012 SWATCH FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Stavanger, the 2011 World Championships and the yearly Junior and Youth World Championships.

The FIVB and IMG Sports Media, the sports production and distribution division of IMG Worldwide, announce a four-year partnership, commencing in 2009, which will see IMG Sports Media exclusively distributing key FIVB tournaments worldwide as well as acting as the official audio-video media rights and event consultant and TV coordination agency of the FIVB. Under the terms of the deal, IMG Sports Media will distribute all media rights for Beach Volleyball's SWATCH FIVB World Tour (men's and women's) and SWATCH FIVB World Championships (men's and women's, 2009 and 2011).

Stavanger, the Norwegian host of many Open and Grand Slam World Tour events in the past 10 years, is named as the venue for the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships presented by ConocoPhillips.


The SWATCH FIVB World Championships powered by 1to1 energy in the Swiss mountain resort of Gstaad are a huge success, proving that Beach Volleyball can be played everywhere and not just by the sea. Tens of thousands flock to the weeklong US$1 million event. USA sweeps the gold medals at the event, with Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor finishing first in the womenís event and Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser claiming top spot in the menís.

There are 17 menís and 17 womenís events throughout the season on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour with prize money and bonus pool of US$8.15 million.


The SWATCH FIVB Menís and Womenís World Championships in Berlin have US$1 million prize money on offer. The event is held in downtown Berlin through June 21-26 with the best 48 menís and 48 womenís teams competing for the world crown. USAís Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh claim the womenís gold and Brazilís Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes the menís gold.

The SWATCH FIVB World Tour features 31 events, including a record 16 stops for women and 15 for men on five continents. A total of US$7.28 million in prize money and bonus pool money is distributed.


The Olympic Beach Volleyball competition runs over 12 days in Athens with 24 menís and 24 womenís teams competing. More than 60 countries take part in the qualifying process on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour. With its new 10,000-seat main stadium built in the style of a traditional Greek amphitheatre, the Beach Volleyball venue and its surroundings provide an amazingly entertaining atmosphere in Athens. For the first time in an Olympic Games, an entertainment programme is implemented with the involvement of 12 dancers, DJs, multilingual announcers and production managers.

Athens Olympics womenís medallists
Gold: Kerri Walsh and Misty May (USA)
Silver: Adriana Behar and Shelda (Brazil)
Bronze: Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs (USA)

Athens Olympics menís medallists
Gold: Ricardo and Emanuel (Brazil)
Silver: Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera (Spain)
Bronze: Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel (Switzerland)

SWATCH and FIVB renew their agreement for SWATCH to be title sponsor of the World Tour and World Championships for an additional four years (2005-2008).

The season is a landmark for Beach Volleyball with 26 tournaments (14 menís and 12 womenís events) in five continents with a total of US$5.3 million in prize money and more than 750,000 spectators.

Three Grand Slam events are held in Berlin, Germany (US$600,000 prize money), Marseille, France (US$560,000), and Klagenfurt, Austria (US$540,000).

The Under-18 Youth World Championships are held in Termoli, Italy, and the Under-21 Junior World Championships are held in Porto Santo, Portugal.


SWATCH becomes title sponsor of the World Tour and presenting sponsor of the World Championships, creating a new logo/title as visual for posters, flyers, tickets and introducing SWATCH technology such as electronic scoreboards and speedball devices at all events.

The SWATCH FIVB World Tour takes in 22 events worldwide (12 womenís and 10 menís), including the 2004 Olympic Games qualification tournaments, in four continents with more than 700 athletes from over 50 countries playing for record prize money nearing US$5 million. More than 600,000 spectators flock to the tournaments. There are four Grand Slam events, in Klagenfurt, Austria (US$520,000 prize money), Marseille, France (US$540,000), Berlin, Germany (US$600,000), and Carson, Calif., USA (US$600,000).

The FIVB World Championships presented by SWATCH returns to Rio de Janerio, Brazil, with US$ 800,000 prize money and the top 48 menís and 48 womenís teams from five continents. TV distribution reaches more than 200 countries with over 100,000 spectators and 200 accredited media journalists. USAís Kerri Walsh and Misty May claim womenís gold, with Brazilís Ricardo and Emanuel taking menís gold.

There are two Junior World Championship events: Under-18s in Pattaya, Thailand, (August 27-31) and Under-21s Saint Quay-Portrieux, France (August 7-10).

Nine exhibition events are held in Madeira in Portugal, Japan, Italy, France, Switzerland, Italy, Mexico, Norway and San Marino, one Challenger event played as the Olympic test event in Athens, Greece (August 19-24) and three satellite events comprising of one menís event in Lausanne, Switzerland, and a menís and womenís event in Lavandou, France. The Olympic test event is staged in Augustin, Athens, to assess the competition, sporting equipment, personnel, venue, sound results system, etc., leading towards the smooth organisation of the Beach Volleyball Tournaments at the 2004 Olympic Games.

The SWATCH FIVB World Tour finally becomes a well recognized TV property with 10 26-minute highlight programs produced for all Grand Slam and Open events and one 52-minute show for the World Championship event.

Promotional and public relation VIP packages and promotional activities are made available to attract audiences and special access passes for major events are created.

The constant organisation of anti-doping tests to guarantee the integrity of the athletes and maintain a drug-free sport is maintained.


A growth plan is launched by the FIVB with the aim to establish Beach Volleyball as one of the most popular summer sports by 2008.

The season schedules 21 tournaments (11 menís and 10 womenís) over four continents and 12 countries with total prize money of US$3,350,000. The year sees two Grand Slam events in Marseille, France, and Klagenfurt, Austria.

FIVB introduces official annual Under-21 and Under-18 Beach Volleyball World Championships to encourage future generations to play Beach Volleyball. The Under-21 World Championships for men and women are held in Catania, Italy, through July 10-14 and the Under-18 Beach Volleyball World Championships run August 28 in Xylokastron, Greece, with some 100 players from 20 countries.

A Challenger event is held in Kiev, Ukraine, through July 23-28 and a Satellite event is held in Lausanne, Switzerland, through August 15-18.

The Beach Volleyball World Council confirms that the rally point system and a smaller court (16 metres x 8 metres) is to be adopted on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and also used at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.


There are 12 menís and 12 womenís events including the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia. Goodwill Games prize money is US$300,000. Total FIVB prize money is US$1,275,000 with a bonus pool of US$1,000,000.

The US$500,000 World Championships held in Klagenfurt, Austria, see more than 120,000 spectators attend the five-day competition. Brazilís Shelda and Adriana Behar win womenís gold and Argentinaís Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde claim menís gold.

The first Junior Beach Volleyball Under-21 World Championships are held in Le Lavandou, France, through August 24-26, with 24 teams in both the women's and men's events.


Four years after the overwhelming success of the first Olympic experience, Beach Volleyball becomes even more of a hit at Sydney 2000. The top 24 menís and 24 womenís teams in the world compete on Bondi Beach in a wonderful stadium seating 10,000 spectators and with modern facilities, offering a top-class event to the Olympic family of players, fans, media, sponsors. Teams from than 50 countries take part in the qualifying process.

Sydney Olympics womenís medallists
Gold: Natalie Cook and Kerri-Ann Pottharst (Australia)
Silver: Adriana Behar and Shelda (Brazil)
Bronze: Sandra Pires and Adriana Samuel (Brazil)

Sydney Olympics menís medallists
Gold: Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana (USA)
Silver: Zť Marco and Ricardo (Brazil)
Bronze: JŲrg Ahmann and Axel Hager (Germany)

The Athens Olympic Games Organising Committee confirms that Beach Volleyball is included in the Olympic Games programme for 2004.

The World Tour features 26 events with US$4 million in prize money. The women's tour sees a tremendous increase in the number of tournaments from seven in 1999 to 12 in 2000.

The FIVB assigns the 2001 World Championships to Austria (August 1-5) and reaches an agreement with Turner Inc. to include Beach Volleyball in the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia (August 29 to September 4).

 A new rally scoring system is tested at a Challenger and two Satellite events for eventual future implementation.


The World Tour is the only international circuit recognised by the IOC for qualification in the Olympic Games. The qualification process consists of a period which begins January 1, 1999, and ends August 15, 2000.

The World Tour includes 12 men's and six women's open events with US$3.66 million in prize money.

The Men and Women's World Championships are organised in Europe for the first time, in Marseille, France. The event distributes US$600,000 in prize money and is held in a special facility for 5,000 spectators. By the end of the competition the total number of spectators reaches nearly 50,000. Brazilís Shelda and Adriana Behar take womenís gold while compatriots Josť Loiola and Emanuel win menís gold.

Beach Volleyball is included for the first time in the Pan American Games, which are held in Canada.


There are 25 FIVB Beach Volleyball tournaments (World Tour and Goodwill Games) with US$3,900,000 in prize money and FIVB bonus pool.

New World Tour Open organisers spring up with events in Argentina, Canada, China and Czech Republic. Chile and Bulgaria organize Challenger events.

Men and women players are rewarded at the same level for the first time with US$170,000 prize money per open event.

The Goodwill Games features Beach Volleyball competitions from July 22 to August 2 in New York's Central Park with the world's eight best men's and women's teams.

Beach Volleyball is included in major sports competitions such as the South East Asian Games, Central & Pan-American Games, Universiade.

FIVB offers new opportunities to mid-level players and organisers by introducing lower event categories: Challenger, Satellite and amateur tournaments, in addition to major World Tour competitions such as Grand Slam and Open events.

More than 120 National Federations have regular Beach Volleyball activities.


There are 22 FIVB World Tour tournaments with US$3,900,000 in prize money and FIVB bonus pool.

Ericsson and Nike present the Men's and Women's Beach Volleyball World Championships at the UCLA Campus in Los Angeles. Both genders are rewarded equally with a total of US$ 600,000 in prize money. The event is broadcast in more than 120 countries.

Austria, Italy and France host women's World Tour events for the first time and Bulgaria and Czech Republic organise inaugural Challenger events.

A new competition format with single elimination bracket and rally scoring system is tested in Marseille and Los Angeles.


The first Olympic Beach Volleyball competition is held at Atlanta 1996. Twenty-four menís teams and 18 womenís teams compete for Olympic medals on Atlanta Beach in July in a 10,000-seat stadium, with over 107,000 spectators selling out the six-day event. Some 600 athletes representing 42 countries take part in the Olympic qualifying process. Karch Kiraly becomes a three-time Olympic gold medallist and first Olympic champion in Volleyball and Beach Volleyball.

Atlanta Olympics womenís medallists
Gold: Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires (Brazil)
Silver: MŰnica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel (Brazil)
Bronze: Natalie Cook and Kerri-Ann Pottharst (Australia)

Atlanta Olympics menís medallists
Gold: Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes (USA)
Silver: Mike Dodd and Mike Witmarsh (USA)
Bronze: John Child and Mark Heese (Canada)

There are 27 FIVB Beach Volleyball tournaments (World Championships Series and Olympic Games) with US$ 4,300,000 total prize money and FIVB bonus pool.

France and Portugal organise men's Grand Slam events and Puerto Rico holds a women's Grand Slam.

More than 95 National Federations have regular Beach Volleyball activities.


There are 27 FIVB Beach Volleyball tournaments (the ďWorld Championship SeriesĒ), with US$ 3,500,000 in prize money & FIVB bonus pool.

Host Broadcasters present 100 hours of news, highlights and broadcasting.

The ďFIVB Final Beach Volleyball RankingĒ serves as a basis to qualify the best pairs in the world for the Olympic Games. Some 600 athletes representing 42 countries take part in the Olympic qualification season.

More than 50 National Federations have a Beach Volleyball National Council to promote the sport in their countries.


Twelve FIVB Beach Volleyball tournaments take place (World Series and Goodwill Games) with US$1,440,000 in prize money and FIVB bonus pool.

Brazil, Chile, France, Japan, Puerto Rico, USA and Chile host FIVB Beach Volleyball competitions.

Beach Volleyball is included for the first time in the Goodwill Games held in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Six FIVB Beach Volleyball tournaments (World Series) take place with US$880,000 in prize money and FIVB bonus pool.

Brazil, USA and Chile host women's FIVB Beach Volleyball events.

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, ACOG President Billy Payne and IOC members are among the 140,000 spectators in one week who attend the February FIVB Beach Volleyball finals held in Rio de Janeiro.

September, 24, 1994: Recognition is given to Beach Volleyball as an Olympic discipline at the IOC meeting in Monte Carlo.


Six FIVB Beach Volleyball World Series tournaments are held with US$950,000 in prize money and FIVB bonus pool.

The first women's FIVB Beach Volleyball World Series tournament takes place in Almeria.

USA pair Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos enter into Beach Volleyball legend by becoming World champions for the fifth time.

A Beach Volleyball Department is created within the FIVB.


Seven FIVB Beach Volleyball World Series tournaments are held with a total of US$600,000 in prize money and FIVB bonus pool. Australia and Spain host FIVB Beach Volleyball events for the first time.


Four FIVB Beach Volleyball World Series events are held with US$200,000 in prize money and FIVB bonus pool.

France, Italy, Japan and Brazil host men's FIVB Beach Volleyball events.

September 1990: The first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Council gathers in Lausanne to determine a growth programme for Beach Volleyball.


Three FIVB Beach Volleyball World Series events are held with US$140,000 total prize money.

The first FIVB Beach Volleyball international circuit, named the World Series, is created with menís tournaments in Brazil, Italy and Japan. The Brazilian event sells out with thousands of people outside the stadium wanting to get in.

Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos become 1989/90 menís world champions.


An FIVB menís tournament is held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with US$50,000 prize money. USAís Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos are the winners.


An FIVB menís tournament is held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with US$51,500 prize money. The winners are USAís Karch Kiraly and Pat Powers.


The first international FIVB-sanctioned Beach Volleyball tournament is held on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with US$22,000 prize money. Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos of USA win the tournament.


The first international Beach Volleyball exhibition is held in Rio de Janeiro with 5,000 spectators.

Brazilian Volleyball champions such as Renan, BadŠ, Montanaro, William, Jackie Silva, Isabel Salgado, Vera Mossa, Regina Uchoa, along with 1984 Olympic Volleyball champion Pat Powers and King of the Beach Sinjin Smith, both American, become leading figures in the worldwide growth of Beach Volleyball.


Beach Volleyball becomes popular on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The USA tour becomes national with tournaments held from Denver to New York and Clearwater, Florida.


The first sponsored tour is organised in USA with seven events in the calendar and US$52,000 prize money.


Pro Beach Volleyball tournaments are held in Santa Cruz, Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles, USA.


The inaugural championships of Beach Volleyball are staged at State Beach, Pacific Palisades in California with US$5,000 prize money. Jim Menges and Greg Lee win the tournament in front of 30,000 spectators.


The first commercially sponsored tournament takes place in San Diego, California, with 250 spectators. A total of US$1,500 in prize money is offered. The winners are Dennis Hare & Fred Zuelich.

1950s and í60s

Beach Volleyball becomes part of the California lifestyle, much like surfing. The sport is associated with the beach, the sun and modern music. Even the Beatles come to Sorrento Beach, California, and pass the ball around and Marilyn Monroe talks about Beach Volleyball.

Open tournaments are held on eight beaches in California: Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, State, Manhattan, Corona del Mar, Laguna, San Diego and even on Lake Tahoe's shores. The first Manhattan Beach Open takes place.

President Kennedy attends the first official Beach Volleyball event in Sorrento Beach, Los Angeles.


Bernie Holtzman and Gene Selznick win an event that features Greta Tyson, star of ďPyjama Tops,Ē as ďQueen of the Beach.Ē


The first circuit is organised on five beaches in California: Santa Barbara, State, Corona del Mar, Laguna and San Diego.

In Brazil, the first tournament sponsored by a newspaper publishing company takes place.

1920s, í30s & í40s

Most accounts place the origin of Beach Volleyball in California where families are seen playing six against six. There are also rumours that six-man teams are playing on Hawaiian beaches.

All you needed is a bathing suit, a net, a ball and sand to play Beach Volleyball. The fever catches on rapidly in the USA where people can escape the depression by going to the beach.


A tournament is held at State Beach, California. The best teams are rewarded with a crate of Pepsi.


The first official two-man Beach Volleyball tournament is held at State Beach, California, with no prize money. Itís organised by Bernie Holtzman and won by Saenez-Harris.

American soldiers play Beach Volleyball on the European shores for the first time.


Beach Volleyball appears in Palavas, Lacanau and Royan in France; around Sofia, Bulgaria; Prague, Czech Republic; and Riga, Latvia.

The first two-men Beach Volleyball game is played in Santa Monica, California.


The game of Volleyball which gave ďrootĒ to Beach Volleyball is invented in 1895 by American William G. Morgan, the Physical Director of the Holyoke Y.M.C.A. Morgan blends elements of basketball, baseball, tennis and handball to create a game for his classes of businessmen that want a new game with less physical contact than basketball.

The original name of the game is Mintonette, which is derived from badminton, since the nature of the game is to volley a ball back and forth across the net. Morgan agrees to change the name to Volleyball. The game is invented just four years after basketball.

In 1900 Canada becomes the first country outside of the USA to take up Volleyball, followed by Cuba in 1906, Japan in 1908, China in 1911, France in 1915 (during World War I on the beaches of Normandy and Brittany). The true birth of Beach Volleyball most likely begins on the beaches of Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, also in 1915, before in Italy, Russia and India in 1917 and the rest of Europe in 1918 via the American Expeditionary Forces.

The year 1920 sees the first annual doubles championships of Philadelphia held at Germantown YMCA and in 1922 the first Volleyball Federation is founded in Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria.

There are unconfirmed whispers of menís teams playing on the beach in Hawaii, but most accounts place the sport's origin in Santa Monica, California, where the first Volleyball courts are put up on the beach.

USA's Nicole Branagh competes at the 2008 SWATCH FIVB Dubai Open

Phil Dalhausser of USA blocks for the 2008 Olympic gold-medal point

The 12,200-seat Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground at the 2008 Olympics

Two-time Olympic Beach Volleyball gold-medal winners Kerri Walsh (left) and Misty May-Treanor of the United States

The spectacular venue for the 2008 SWATCH FIVB Berlin Grand Slam

Klagenfurt: Another stunning stop on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour

Osaka in Japan provides an amazing setting for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour

Harley Marques and Pedro Salgado after winning gold in Roseto, Italy, in 2008

USA's Todd Rogers receives during the 2007 SWATCH worlds in Gstaad

The setting for the 2007 SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Gstaad

Jie Wang digs her way to silver at the 2007 SWATCH FIVB World Championships

The Italian and Brazilian SWATCH FIVB Junior World Championships gold winners

Stavanger has developed into one of the top stops on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour

Jen Boss and April Ross celebrate at the 2007 SWATCH stop in Stavanger

Another brilliant Brazilian crowd at the 2005 Salvador event in Brazil

The Olympic Beach Volleyball amphitheatre in Athens in 2004

The women's Beach Volleyball podium at the 2004 Athens Games

Brazil's Ricardo stretches on his way to gold in Klagenfurt in 2004

USA's Jenny Johnson Jordan and Brazil's Sandra Pires joust at the 2003 worlds

The crowds flocked to the SWATCH FIVB World Tour event in Klagenfurt in 2001

Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar are interviewed during the 1999 season

The FIVB women's Salvador Open in Brazil in 1999 drew in amazing crowds

Brazil's Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires celebrate Olympic gold at Atlanta 1996

Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes claimed Olympic gold for USA at Atlanta 1996

Nancy Reno and Nathalie Cook compete at the net at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Sinjin Smith and Joao Brenha do battle during the Olympics Games in Atlanta

Monica Rodrigues and Jackie Silva compete at the 1996 Olympic Games

Fans pack out an FIVB tour event in Brazil

Randy Stoklos and Sinjin Smith compete at a 1992 FIVB World Series event in Rio

USA's Randy Stoklos and Sinjin Smith against Brazil in Rio in 1992

Isabel Salgado dives for the ball at an event in her home country of Brazil

Astonishing crowds flock to a Beach Volleyball event in Rio in 1986