Beach volleyball has become one of the most popular of all sports, throughout Brazil. Many beaches have areas that are devoted specifically to the practice of this sport, whether in an amateur or professional manner.
Even though its origins in Brazil are somewhat obscure, it is believed that beach volleyball first came to Brazil back in the 1950s – however, professional championships only became stronger in the 1980s.
Despite its late start – considering that the sport was introduced into the United States in the 1920s – the sport, which was already popular on the courts, made its way onto the sands of Brazilian beaches very quickly, especially after the event was included in the Olympic Games in Atlanta, in 1996.
The rules are different from regular volleyball
Even though, at first sight, indoor and beach volleyball appear to be very similar, there are important differences to be mentioned. First of all, there are far less players, only two players on a team, and substitutions are not allowed – if a player gets injured, he or she has five minutes to recover, or the pair forfeits the match.
For obvious reasons, the free changing of positions is allowed, and invasion of the opposite court below the net is not a foul stroke. A block counts as a touch, and only one 30-second timeout is allowed. The ball is the same size as that used in indoor volleyball, but the internal pressure is less.
The requirement to use swimsuit style uniforms has also been abolished, and now it is possible to use a range of attire including shorts, leggings and tops with long sleeves. However, many players still prefer to use suquíni type bikinis.
Brazil is world champion
Brazil is one of the most prominent countries in beach volleyball. The country is the current world champion in the sport, both for men (Cerutti and Schmidt) and for women (Seixas and Bednarczuk).
At the Olympic Games, the Brazilian flag has been on the men’s beach volleyball podium on five occasions, one of these being to receive the gold medal, won by the pair Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego. In the women’s competition, there have been six medals so far, with Jaqueline Silva and Sandra Pires being the most successful pair, having won gold at the 1996 Olympic Games.
In addition, this sport has become a representative of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, and has already generated an offshoot, which is footvolley – a sport which demands strong physical fitness, where the touches to move the ball over the net may be made only with the feet.