While many people might think of it as the fun beach sport meant for holidays, volleyball is actually a professional sport played at both national and international levels. In facts, volleyball tickets for big events sell out faster than you might think.
The game is believed to have originated in Holyoke, Massachusetts, when William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director created a pastime game called Mintonette. The game initially combined some of the rules of tennis and handball. The first set of rules was written by Morgan himself and consisted of specifications regarding the size of the net, the number of players, innings and serves. The name “Volleyball” was given to the newly developed game by an observer, Alfred Halstead, who noticed the volleying nature of the game in its first exhibition match, held in 1896.
The rules of the game evolved over time and the sport started to gain popularity in other countries as well – the first one being Canada. Beach volleyball, a variation of the game was introduced in 1987 and was added to the Olympics in the 1996 Summer Olympics.
The Greats of Volleyball
With the New Year right around the corner, volleyball fans can expect to get a lot of action on the field for their favorite sport. Lots of new players have made it to the mainstream volleyball scene and a whole lot of old favorites will be returning to the field in 2018. Let’s take a look at some of the top volleyball players who have made this sport famous over the years.
Karch Kiraly: Kiraly was a major part of the US National Team that won gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. He has been a celebrated player all his career and has also served as a coach and broadcast announcer. He also won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics when beach volleyball was introduced for the first time. He is currently the head coach of the United States women’s national volleyball team.
Logan Tom: This American indoor volleyball and beach volleyball player is a four time Olympian and is also the youngest woman ever to have been selected for an American volleyball team, at age 19. She is an all-around player with great stability, a solid attacking ability and block at the net. She has helped Team USA win silver and was also named the Best Scorer. She represented Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics and won silver both times.
Matt Anderson: A member of the United States men’s national volleyball team, Matt Anderson has participated in the Olympics twice – in 2012 and in 2016. He won a gold medal at the 2008 Pan American Cup, 2015 World Cup and the 2014 World League. At just 30 years of age, this young volleyball player has managed to establish himself as one of the great players in the sport. He has also won silver at the FIVB Club World Championship and has won gold at the CEV Champions League - both with Zenit Kazan.
Giba: The Brazilian national played as an outside hitter and was regarded as one of the best volleyball players in the world for most of 2000s. He has had the honor of playing in multiple countries across the world including Italy, Russia, Argentina and even UAE for a brief period of time. With his national team, he has been able to win 8 South American Championships, 8 World League titles, three World Champions and 3 World Grand Champions Cups among other honors. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Giba served as his national team’s captain. He retired from professional volleyball at the age of 37 in the summer of 2014.
Yekaterina Gamova: The Russian volleyball player was a part of her national team that bagged gold medals at the 2006 and 2010 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships. She also won silver medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and Athens Olympics in 2004. With a height of 6ft 9 inches, Gamova is one of the tallest female athletes in the world. As an outside hitter/opposite, Gamova managed to wow fans with her amazing aggressiveness, eventually getting the title of Queen of Volleyball.
Volleyball Tournaments to Look Forward to in 2018
As the New Year dawns upon us, volleyball fans have a lot to look forward to. Mark your calendars for the following important dates, as you would certainly not want to miss these enthralling competitions coming up soon:
FIVB Men’s World Championship: This championship will take place from 10th to 30th of September, 2018, in various cities of Bulgaria and Italy. The competition would travel to Florence, Plovdiv, Sofia, Rise and Varna, with the finals being held in Turin, Italy. If you are planning a vacation in Europe, September would be the time to go for it! This championship will be the 19th edition of the international Volleyball Federation’s signature event for men’s national teams. The last edition of this championship was held in Poland in 2014 and had more than half a million attendees in 103 matches.
Russia leads the ranking for this tournament with a total of six titles to its name. However, it has been 32 years since they won their last gold medal – proof of how tough the competition has gotten over the years. Brazil follows after Russia, with three gold medals and Poland and Czechoslovakia (as it then was) close behind with two medals each. With lots of countries gearing up for a highly thrilling season, there is no saying who would grab the prestigious title this year!
FIVB Women’s World Championship: This tournament is scheduled to take place between 29th September and 20th October, 2018, in Japan. It will be the 18th edition of this prestigious FIVB event, which was first held in Moscow in 1952. Japan has been host to several major volleyball events in the past, including the FIVB Volleyball World League, FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cups, FIVB Volleyball World Cups, FIVB Volleyball Grand Prix and the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournaments. The 2018 tournament would be Japan’s fifth time hosting the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship and will be an event volleyball fans can’t afford to miss!
So far, Russia has been the most successful nation in the history of Women’s World Championships, with a total of seven titles to its name, followed by Japan and Cuba. Will this year be Russia’s year as well or teams from other parts of the world dethrone the returning champions? You will have to get these tickets to find out!
Buy Volleyball Tickets
For fans of the sport, now would be the ideal time to buy volleyball tickets and avail the best prices. Plan ahead and purchase tickets well in advance to make sure all your travel plans are in line. With amazing new competitions coming up in 2018, you wouldn’t want to miss any of the action.