The Volleyball Story
The birth of the game
William G. Morgan (1870-1942), who was born in the State of New York, has gone down in history as the inventor of the game of volleyball, to which he originally gave the name of "Mintonette".
The young Morgan carried out his undergraduate studies at the Springfield College of the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) where he met James Naismith who, in 1891, had invented basketball. After graduating, Morgan spent his first year at the Auburn (Maine) YMCA after which, during the summer of 1895, he moved to the YMCA at Holyoke (Massachusetts) where he became Director of Physical Education. In this role he had the opportunity to establish develop, and direct a vast programme of exercises and sport classes for male adults.
His leadership was enthusiastically accepted, and his classes grew in numbers. He came to realise that he needed a certain type of competitive recreational game in order to vary his programme. Basketball, which sport was beginning to develop, seemed to suit young people, but it was necessary to find a less violent and less intense alternative for the older members.
At that time Morgan knew of no similar game to volleyball which could guide him; he developed it from his own sports training methods and his practical experience in the YMCA gymnasium. Describing his first experiments he said: "In search of an appropriate game, tennis occurred to me, but this required rackets, balls, a net and other equipment, so it was eliminated - but the idea of a net seemed a good one. We raised it to a height of about 6 feet 6 inches (lm.98) from the ground, just above the head of an average man. We needed a ball, and among those we tried was a basketball bladder, but this was too light and too slow, we therefore tried the basketball itself, which was too big and too heavy".
In the end, Morgan asked the firm of A.G. Spalding & Bros. to make a ball, which they did at their factory near Chicopee, in Massachusetts. The result was quite satisfactory: the ball was leather-covered, with a rubber inner tube; its circumference was not less than 25 and not more than 27 inches (63.5 cm and 68.6 cm, respectively), and its weight not less than 9 and not more than 12 ounces (252 gr and 336 gr, respectively).
Morgan asked two of his friends from Holyoke, Dr. Frank Wood and John Lynch, to draw up (based on his suggestions) the basic concepts of the game together with the first ten rules.
Early in 1896 a conference was organized at the YMCA College in Springfield, bringing together all the YMCA Directors of Physical Education. Dr Luther Halsey Gulick, Director of the professional physical education training school (and also Executive Director of the Department of Physical Education of the International Committee of YMCA's) invited Morgan to make a demonstration of his game in the new college stadium. Morgan took two teams, each made up of five men (and some loyal fans) to Springfield, where the demonstration was made before the conference delegates in the East Gymnasium. The captain of one of the teams was J.J. Curran and of the other John Lynch who were respectively, Mayor and Chief of the Fire Brigade of Holyoke.
Morgan explained that the new game was designed for gymnasia or exercise halls, but could also be played in open air. An unlimited number of players could participate - the object of the game being keep the ball in movement over a high net, from one side to the other.
After seeing the demonstration, and hearing the explanation of Morgan, Professor Alfred T. Halstead called attention to the action, or the act phase, of the ball's flight, and proposed that the name "Mintonette" be replaced by "Volley Ball". This name was accepted by Morgan and the conference. (It is interesting to note that the same name has survived over the years, with one slight alteration: in 1952, the Administrative Committee of the USVBA voted to spell the name in one word, "Volleyball", but continued to use USVBA to signify United States Volleyball Association).
Mr Morgan explained the rules and worked on them, then gave a hand-written copy to the conference to the conference of YMCA directors of physical education, as a guide for the use and development of the game. A committee was appointed to study the rules and produce suggestions for the game's promotion and teaching.
A brief report on the new game and its rules was published in the July 1896 edition of "Physical Education" and the rules were included in the 1897 edition of the first official handbook of the North American YMCA Athletic League.
The world-wide growth
The Physical Education Directors of the YMCA, encouraged particularly by two professional schools of physical education, Springfield college in Massachusetts and George Williams College in Chicago (now at Downers Grove, Illinois), adopted Volleyball in all its societies throughout the United States, Canada (in 1900 Canada became the first foreign country to adopt the game), and also in many other countries: Elwood S. Brown in the Philippines (1910), J. Howard Crocker in China, Franklin H. Brown in Japan (1908), Dr J.H. Gray in Burma, in China and in India, and other precursors in Mexico, the South-American, European and African countries.
By 1913 the development of Volleyball on the Asian continent was assured as, in that year, the game was included on the programme of the first Far-Eastern Games, organized in Manila. It should be noted that, for a long time, volleyball was played in Asia according to the "Brown" rules which, amongst other things, used sixteen players (to enable a greater participation in matches).
An indication of the growth of Volleyball in the United States is given in an article published in 1916 in the Spalding Volleyball Guide and written by Robert C Cubbon. In that article Cubbon estimated that the number of players had reached a total of 200,000 people subdivided in the following way: in the YMCA (boys, young men, and older men) 70,000; in the YWCA (girls and women) 50,000; in schools (boys and girls) 25,000 and in colleges (young men) 10,000.
In 1916, the YMCA managed to induce the powerful National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to publish its rules and a series of articles, contributing to the rapid growth of volleyball among young college students. In 1918 the number of players per team was limited to six, and in 1922 the maximum number of authorized contacts with the ball was fixed at three.
Until the early thirties volleyball was for the most part a game of leisure and recreation, and there were only few international activities and competitions. There were different rules of the game in the various parts of the world; however, national championships were played in many countries (for instance, in Eastern Europe where the level of play had reached a remarkable standard) Volleyball thus became more and more a competitive sport with high physical and technical performance.
1896 After a demonstration given at the YMCA in nearby Springfield, the name "Mintonette" was replaced with "Volleyball".
1900 The rules as modified by W.E. Day were accepted and published by the YMCA. The height of the net went up to 7 feet 6 inches. Match length was set at 21 points.
Canada was the first "foreign" country to adopt Volleyball.
1906 Cuba discovered 6 Volleyball in 1906, thanks to a North American army officer, Agusto York, who took part in the second military intervention on this Caribbean island.
1908 Volleyball reached Japan. It was Hyozo Omori, a Springfield College "graduate" in the United States, who first demonstrated the rules of the new game on the YMCA courts in Tokyo.
1910 Volleyball officially landed in China, thanks to Max Exner and Howard Crokner. Up until 1917, play was between 16-man teams and went to 21 points.
The Philippines too got to know the new game. It was imported by the YMCA director in Manila, Elwood Brown. In a very short time there were 5,000 public and private courts.
In the USA, decisive impetus was given to the game by Prevost Idell, YMCA director in Germantown.
1912 The court size was changed, becoming 35 x 60 feet. A uniform size and weight of the ball was established, calling for a circumference of 26 inches and a weight of between 7 and 9 ounces. Two other important innovations: the number of players on each team was set at six; and it was decided to rotate players before service.
1913 Volleyball was put on the programme for the first Far Eastern Games held in Manila. Teams were made up of 16 players.
1914 George Fisher, secretary of the YMCA War Office, included Volleyball in the recreation and education programme for the American armed forces.
1915 The number of players on court again became variable - being anything from 2 to 6 for each team. Official game time was introduced, and it was decided that the team losing a game had the right to begin serving in the next game.
In Europe, Volleyball arrived on the French beaches of Normandy and Brittany with American soldiers fighting in the First World War. Its popularity grew rapidly, but the game took root especially in the Eastern countries, where the cold climate made gym sports particularly attractive.
The opening days of World War I brought Volleyball to Africa. The first country to learn the rules was Egypt.
1916 Many new rules were established. The score for a "game" dropped from 21 to 15, and it was determined that to win a match a team had to win two out of three "games". The ball could be hit even with a player's feet. Net height rose to 8 feet, while ball weight climbed from 8 to 10 ounces. It was decided that holding on to the ball would be a foul and that a player could not have contact with the ball a second time until after it had been played by another athlete.
Volleyball became a part of the programme of the NCAA, the body that oversees college and university sports in the USA.
1917 At the Allied Forces air base in Porto Corsini, just where Ravenna's sports palace is now located, American airmen introduced the virus of Volleyball into Italy.
1918 The number of players per team was set at six.
In Japan, the first High School Championship was played.
1919 During the First World War, Dr. George J. Fisher, as Secretary of the YMCA War Work Office, made Volleyball a part of the programme in military training camps, both in the USA and abroad, in the Athletic Handbooks written for those responsible for sport and recreation in the Army and Marines. Thousands of balls and nets were sent overseas to the US troops and were also presented to the Allied Army's sports directors. More than 16,000 volleyballs were distributed in 1919 to the American Expeditionary Corps Forces only. The Inter-Allied Games were organized in Paris (but Volleyball was not included since the game was not yet known sufficiently well in the 18 participating Allied countries to allow for a balanced competition).
In China the rules were modified. Play became 12 against 12, and a match went to 15 points.
1920 Court size went down to 30 x 60 feet, and the ball could be played by any other part of the body above the waist. A major innovation involved the rule allowing a team to play a ball no more than three times before sending it over the net.
The Philippines developed the first kind of spike. It was known as the "Filipino bomb"; and it was a pretty lethal weapon in its day.
The first spontaneous tries at blocking made their appearance, although not yet codified by the rules.
Volleyball made its first official appearance in Russia in the cities of the Volga - Gorky and Kazan - and at the same time in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok (Russian Far East).
1922 Players in the back line were not permitted to spike. The "double hit" fault was added to the rules. Scoring rules were also changed, providing that, with the score at 14-14, 2 consecutive points were needed to win.
The maximum number of consecutive ball contacts per team was set at three. The first national federation was founded in Czechoslovakia, quickly followed by Bulgaria. The first national championship was played in the USA, in which only YMCA teams competed.
Volleyball gained in popularity in Italy too, thanks to Guido Graziani, a Springfield YMCA "graduate".
1923 A team was to be made up of 6 players on court and 12 official substitutes, and each player had to have a numbered jersey. The team securing the right to serve was to rotate clockwise. The serve was to be made by the player placed on the right in the back line. If a player touched the adversary's court during play it was a foul. Minimum ceiling height was set at 15 feet.
The official birthday of Volleyball in Russia was 28 July 1923 when the match of men's team High Art and Theatre Workshop (Vhutemas) and State Cinema Technical School (GTK) was played in Moscow.
The Olympic Games in Paris. The programme included a demonstration of "American" sports, and Volleyball was among these.
1925 Two time-outs per game for each team became the rule. There was also a change in the scoring rules for the most hotly contested sets: at 14-14, to win it was no longer necessary to score two consecutive points, but rather to have a two-point advantage. Once again the ball weight was modified, from 9 to 10 ounces.
Volleyball was played for the first time in the Netherlands. After a stay at the Seminary of Techny in Illinois, USA, Father S. Buis introduced the sport to the Sint Willibrod mission house in Uden and had a few courts set up there.
Net length was set at feet. A team reduced to less than 6 players was considered defeated by forfeit.
1927 The Japanese Federation was born and 9 men's competitions were organised.
In Russia, there was a "political" reaction by the Communist Party against the YMCA as a "capitalistic, bourgeois, and religious" organization, and it was obliged to leave the country, but Volleyball was there to stay.
China adopted the 9-player-per-team system, the same used in Japan.
The U.S. Volleyball Association was founded basically under YMCA principles as a leisure sport.
Cuba organized the first men's tournament according to the "American" rules at the Caribbean and Central American Games. Between the two World Wars, great efforts were made to give unity to the Volleyball movement by establishing a single set of rules and creating an international federation. These were just first efforts, with nothing concrete being done.
1932 Time-outs were limited to one minute. To make a play, an athlete could step off his own court; but he could not change position in the starting line-up.
1933 The first national championship was held in the USSR, where there were already over 400,000 players. For Soviet Volleyball, it was the year of enshrinement. In January, a challenge between Moscow and Dnepropetrovsk was played on no less important a stage than that of the Bolshoi Theatre!
Literature plays an important role in the diffusion of ideas and information and allowed people with a common interest to get together. The book entitled Volleyball: Man's Game by Robert E. Laveaga, published by A S Barnes & Co of New York, made an important impact on teaching methods and scientific training techniques. Volleyball for Women by Katherine M. Montgomery was also very useful for teaching the game.
1934 The first concrete steps to establish international relations in Volleyball were taken during the International Handball Federation Congress in Stockholm.
1935 Crosses were to be marked on the floor to determine player position. Touching the net was to be considered a foul. An important rule involved spikers: it was forbidden to step off the court as long as the ball is in play on the spiker's side (it had been customary for spikers waiting for a set to take a running start from way off and then leap from one foot). In Tashkent and Moscow, the USSR played the first official international matches against Afghanistan.
Multiple ball contacts were permitted in defence against particularly violent spikes.
The Czechs perfected blocking which was officially introduced into the rules under the concept of "a counteraction at the net by one or two adjacent players". For almost twenty years, blocking had been a part of the game, but was not spelled out in the rules. The Czechs were the first (and soon followed by the Russians) to attribute decisive importance to the new skill, which facilitates the ungrateful task of volleying defences.
How to push for homogeneous rules throughout the world? The Annual USVBA Reference Guide and the Official Rules of the Game of Volleyball gave useful information on the game and provided a forum where experiences and ideas emanating from different sources could be exchanged. During the War, thousands of these guides were used throughout the world.
1940 William G. Morgan, the creator of Volleyball, died at the age of 68. A man of high moral standards, Morgan suffered no pangs of jealousy and continued to follow with enthusiasm the progress of his game, convinced that real Volleyball, for real athletes, would be a success.
In several countries, including Italy, experiments were made with a system of timed play. Two 20-minute sets were played (with supplementary time in case of a tie). But after various and prolonged trials, the experiments were abandoned, but taken up again in the United States at the close of the Second World War. Another innovation was time-limit Volleyball, whereby a game lasted 8 minutes of actual play. To win, a team had to have either a two-point advantage at the end of the 8 minutes or have been the first to score 15 points. But even here, the idea found little acceptance.
The ball could be played by any part of the body from the knees up.
Everywhere from the South Pacific to the Finnish front, Volleyball drew crowds among the troops engaged in the Second World War, even aboard aircraft carriers. Volleyball was recommended by Chiefs of Staff for training the troops, believing it kept them in condition, strengthened their morale, and taught them how to stay together as a group - something essential at that point of the War. 1943 During the summer of 1943, Mr. Friermood joined the management of the United States YMCA and quickly became Secretary/Treasurer of the USVBA and worked closely with Dr. Fisher, its President. Through international YMCA contacts in more than 80 countries and also military personnel around the world, communications were established and began to produce information on the interpretation and development of Volleyball and those who were managing it. Correspondence with the Polish managers during the War drew attention to the post-war endeavours to establish an international Volleyball organization.
1945 First postage stamp on a Volleyball subject issued in Rumania.
1946 In January, the Spartak Prague team went to play in Poland, signalling a resumption after the War years of contacts aimed at creating an international Volleyball organization. On the occasion of a friendly match between the Czech and French national teams on 26 August, a meeting was held in Prague between representatives of the federations of Czechoslovakia, France, and Poland. The meeting produced the first official document of the future FIVB, with the creation of a commission for the organization of the International Federation, the promotion of a constituent congress, and the decision to launch a European or world championship at an early date.
Only front-line players were allowed to exchange positions for a two-player block and spike.
Egypt was the first Arab and African country to organize Volleyball activities and establish a national federation.
From 18 to 20 April in Paris, 14 federations founded the FIVB, with the headquarters in Paris. Frenchman Paul Libaud was the first President. American and European rules of the game were harmonized. The court was to measure 9 x 18 meters; and net height was to be 2,43 meters for the men and 2,24 for the women.
Only in Asia, the rules were different: the court had to measure 21,35 x 10,67 meters, and the net was to be 2,28 m high for the men and 2,13 for the women; there was no rotation of players and on court there were 9 athletes arranged in three lines.
1948 First European Championship held in Rome and won by Czechoslovakia. After the War, the rules were rewritten and clarified to make interpretation easier. In particular, a better definition was given to the idea of blocking, and service was limited to the right third of the back court boundary. It was also made clear that each player had to be in his right place during service; points scored by the wrong server were to be nullified; simultaneous contacts by two players were to be considered one; time-outs were to last one minute, while time-out due to injury could last five minutes; and rest time between one game and another was set at three minutes.
The first Men's World Championship was held in Prague and won by the USSR. This was also the first time a setter penetrated from the back line, leading to a three-player attack.
At its 3rd Congress, the FIVB decided that a player's hands could "invade" at the net during blocking but only in the final phases of spiking. Furthermore, a back-line player could spike, providing that he remained in his zone and did not move up to the front line.
China began to participate in international tournaments.
The first Women's World Championship was held in Moscow and won by the USSR.
At its 4th Congress, the FIVB defined referee action and terminology. The Chinese Federation was born.
1954 The Asian Confederation was founded in Manila.
At the FIVB Congress in Florence, the Japanese Federation adopted the international rules and committed itself to gradually introducing them in Asia.
The 1st Asian Championship was played in Tokyo; both 6- and 9-player tournaments were scheduled.
Volleyball was put on the programme for the Panamerican Games.
First issue of the official FIVB bulletin published. The first truly globe-spanning World Championship was held in Paris, France (with 24 men's teams from 4 continents). Czechoslovakia (for the men) and the USSR (women) won the coveted titles in Paris.
1957 Consideration was given to the introduction of a second referee; duration of time-outs was limited to one minute 30 seconds. During the 53rd IOC session in Sofia, Bulgaria from 22 to 26 September, a demonstration tournament was played for the IOC members who then decided to include Volleyball on the programme for the Games celebrating the XVII Olympiad in Tokyo, 1964.
1958 Once again it was the Czechs who introduced a new defensive hit - the bagger - which amazed the spectators at the European Championship in Prague.
1959 At the FIVB Congress in Budapest it was decided to forbid "screening" on the serve and to limit "invasion" at the net onto the opponent's court to the whole foot.
1960 For the first time, a World Championship (the men's) was played outside of Europe (in Brazil). Victory went to the USSR, both the men and the women.
1961 The idea of Mini Volleyball was born in East Germany.
1962 The World Championships were played in Moscow. The USSR men confirmed their leadership, while it was a first victory for the Japanese women.
The European Confederation was founded on October 21st.
New rules on blocking: airborne invasion during blocking was prohibited, while blockers were permitted a second hit. The first Olympic Volleyball tournaments were played in Tokyo during the Olympic Games from 13 to 23 October, with 10 men's teams and 6 women's teams. The gold medal for the men went to the USSR, and the women's to Japan.
The first men's World Cup was played in Poland and won by the USSR.
The first scientific symposium was held in Prague on the occasion of the men's World Championship, won by Czechoslovakia.
The first African Continental Championship was played; the African Zone Commission was founded.
The women's World Championship, scheduled a year after the men's, was played in Tokyo and won once again by Japan.
The use of antennas to limit the court air space and facilitate the referee's decision on ball crossing outside the side line was recommended to the Congress in Mexico. The USSR took home two Olympic gold medals.
1969 A Coaches Commission was established. The FIVB recognized its fifth Continental Sport Zone Commission when NORCECA was born in Mexico, July 26 with the merging of USA, Canada and the countries joining to form the North Central American and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA). The first NORCECA Championships took place in Mexico.
In Berlin, East Germany won the second edition of the men's World Cup.
The World Championships in Bulgaria: victorious were the GDR men and the USSR women.
1971 The first FIVB coaching courses were held in Japan and Egypt.
The FIVB Medical Commission was established.
The sub-commission for Mini Volleyball of the FIVB Coaches' Commission was established.
1972 The five Sports Zone Commissions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Norceca, and South America) became Continental Confederations. Japan won the Munich Olympics with playmakers Nekoda and Matsudaira. Systematic use of its fast game clinched for the first time the gold medal for an Asian Country. The women's tournament was won by the USSR.
The official rules of Mini Volleyball were established.
The first South American Junior Championships were held in Rio.
1973 The first women's World Cup was played in Uruguay and won by the USSR.
At the FIVB Congress in Mexico City it was decided to make two changes to go into force after 1976: lateral antennas were to be moved to the court's side boundaries and three ball contacts were to be permitted after blocking.
During the World Championship, Polish athlete Wojtowicz amazed everybody by spiking from the back line. In Mexico City, Poland won the men's gold; while, in Guadalajara, Japan held on to the women's title.
The first Mini Volleyball Symposium was held in Sweden, with 19 nations participating.
The first Asian Championships were held in Australia.
At the Montreal Olympic Games, Poland confirmed its leadership among the men and Japan among the women.
After blocking, not two but three ball contacts were permitted; the distance between the antennas was shortened from 9.40 to 9 meters.
1977 The first Junior World Championships were held in Brazil; winners were the USSR (for the men) and South Korea (women). Kuwait organized the first Arabian Championship. The World Cup was granted to Japan on a permanent basis for both men and women.
Triumphing in Tokyo were the Soviet men and the Japanese women.
1978 The men's World Championship was held in Rome, with the USSR winning ahead of Italy. The women played in Leningrad; and it was a surprise first world title for Cuba, placed ahead of Japan and USSR.
At the Moscow Olympic Games, it was a dual victory for the USSR.
17th FIVB Congress: the rules of the game were adopted in three languages: French, English and Spanish.
World Cup in Tokyo: the USSR won for the men and China for the women.
Ball pressure was increased from 0.40 to 0.46 kg/cm2.
The Women's World Championship was held in Peru where, for the first time, China took the title after an outstanding and spectacular performance.
The men's World Championship (in Argentina) was won by the USSR.
On 19 July, the Brazil vs. USSR challenge at Rio de Janeiro's Maracaná stadium brought in nearly 100,000 spectators!
The 19th Congress of the FIVB was held in Long Beach, California; and, after 37 years at the helm, the founding French President Paul Libaud stepped down and became Honorary President. A Mexican lawyer, Dr. Rubén Acosta, was elected as the new President.
The USA won the men's Olympic gold, while China was victorious among the women.
At the Los Angeles Olympic Games, the Brazilians (the silver medallists) attracted attention with their ability to make jumping serves.
The idea was not new (Argentina had already tried it at the 1982 World Championship), but no one had ever seen it used so effectively before.
After Los Angeles '84, it was no longer possible to block a serve, and referees became more permissive in evaluating defence.
The first International Volleyball Cinema Festival was held in Perugia.
15 December: FIVB moved its quarters to a temporary office in Lausanne while preparing, its permanent headquarters in this city.
1985 28 May: for the first time, a Volleyball representative (FIVB President Acosta) was named for an IOC Commission - the prestigious Olympic Movement Commission.
World Cup in Tokyo: victory went to the USA men, while China confirmed its leadership among the women.
28-31 December: the first women's World Gala was played in China, (two matches in Beijing and Shanghai).
A world All-Star line-up challenged the Olympic Champion China, which won both matches and the Hitachi Cup.
In Paris, the USA won the men's World Championships. China took the women's gold medal in Prague. Beach Volleyball received official status by the FIVB.
From 17 to 22 February, the first Beach Volleyball World Championship was played in Ipanema, Brazil.
On 6 May, the FIVB inaugurated its new headquarters in Lausanne.
The Olympic Games in Seoul: for the men's tournament, the number of teams rose to 12 (previously 10). The USA won the men's gold medal; the USSR took the women's after a dramatic final match against Peru.
The World Congress approved the turning of the 5th set into a tiebreak rally-point system in which each serve is worth a point.
Final scoring per set was limited to 17 points with one point difference.
The first edition of the FIVB Super Four was held in Japan, a bi-yearly competition between the three medallists from the Olympic Games (or the World Championship). In the first Super Four, the Soviet men and the Chinese women re-affirmed their superiority.
The year brought the first edition of the Beach Volleyball World Series (a world circuit) and the second World Gala in Singapore (men's and women's All Stars against the Olympic champions).
World Cup in Japan: Cuba won for the women and went on for a dual victory. For the men, new European champion Italy placed second.
From 6 to 10 December, the first World Championship for Clubs was played in Parma and won by home team Maxicono.
The first edition of the men's World League, a revolutionary idea for a team sport, with one million US$ prize money, professional organization and wide TV broadcasting in an itinerant competition reaching all corners of the world. Playing formula for the World Championship was changed. After the qualification phase, play proceeded by direct elimination matches right up to the finals for 1st to 8th place. Italy won the first one-million-dollar World League in Tokyo, Japan, before a crowd of 10,000 spectators. Italy upset Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and became the first Western European country to win the Men's Volleyball World Championship. USSR won the women's world title against China in Beijing.
The first edition of the Women's World Championship for Clubs was played in Brazil. Winner was Sadia Sao Paulo. Italy wins the 2nd consecutive World League with two million US$ prize money for the teams. The final was in Milan in front of 12,000 spectators against Cuba.
Barcelona applauded the first Olympic victory by Brazil (for the men) and Cuba (women). After Barcelona, the tiebreak was modified. At 16-16, play continues until one team has a two-point advantage.
The World League increased prize money to 3 million US dollars and for the 3rd time Italy won in Genoa (9,000 spectators) against the Netherlands.
Brazil also triumphed in the men's Super Four and Cuba in the women's.
The first edition of the Grand Prix with one million dollars in prize money, the women's version of the World League, was played entirely in Asia and won by Cuba against China.
The World League final was held in São Paulo and Brazil won the title.
During the 101st IOC session in Monte Carlo on 18 September, Beach Volleyball was admitted as a gold medal discipline to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Debut of another major event: the Grand Champions Cup is to be played every four years in Japan, alternating on odd years with the World Cup; participants will be the continental champions. First gold medal winners were Italy (men) and Cuba (women).
The fifth edition of the World League offered record prize money of $6 million. Italy won for the fourth time against Cuba.
The World Congress in Athens approved new rules to go into force officially on 1st January 1995, such possibility of contacting the ball with any part of the body, including the feet; the service zone is extended to the whole 9-meter back line; elimination of the "double hit" fault on the first touch of a ball coming from the opponent's court; and the permission to touch the net accidentally when the player in question is not trying to play the ball.
Italy won the men's World Championship for the second time in a row equalling a previous USSR award.
At the Women's World Championship in Brazil, 26,000 spectators in Belo Horizonte attended the matches, setting a new record for women's event. Later on in São Paulo, 12,000 spectators saw Cuba win its second world title, this time in a final against Brazil.
Volleyball is one hundred years old! The anniversary is being observed throughout the world with awards ceremonies, tournaments, and special stamp issues and postmarks. The FIVB is celebrating the event by bringing together "100 years of Volleyball in 100 days" in a special calendar of events and editing a magnificent book under the title of "100 Years of Global Link".
The World League again spoke Italian. In the women's Grand Prix, a surprise victory went to the United States. Italy won the men's World Cup for the first time and Cuba the women's for the third time in a row. In the World Gala, Italy's men beat the All Stars and received the Centennial Cup from the hands of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. A happy 100th birthday to Volleyball!
The Atlanta Olympic Games made Beach Volleyball the latest Olympic Medal Sport in the historic area of Clayton County with a newly built 8,000-seat stadium which was never big enough to accommodate the enthusiastic crowds.
Volleyball competitions had two ad hoc facilities; the Atlanta convention centre and the Georgia University Hall in Athens. Netherlands and Italy performed Volleyball at its best and in the widest TV coverage at world level after 5 strenuous sets, the van de Goor team gave Netherlands its first gold medal in Volleyball history.
Men and Women's World Championships for the first time go to Japan for the best Championships in Volleyball history.
After touring 14 cities and reaching over 500,000 spectators, and the highest TV ratings in Japan since the 1964 Japanese Olympics gold for women, Italy led by Giani and Gardini made history with its 3rd consecutive crown defeating Yugoslavia and Cuba led by Regla Torres set the same record of 3 crowns for women, defeating Russia.
The Congress made a historic change in the rules, adopting "Rally Point System" of 25 points per each of four sets and an eventual 5th set as a 15-point tiebreak with a two-year testing period. Other changes were immediately adopted such as the colour ball, Libero player and coaches interactivity.
Italy won its 8th World League pennant in 12 editions defeating Russia, but lost again the Olympic gold for men now in front of Yugoslavia.
Cuba women defeated Russia once more 3-2 and won its 3rd consecutive Olympic gold setting an all time record.
Following the phenomenal success of the Beach Volleyball performance during the Sydney Olympics, the IOC Executive Committee declared Beach Volleyball an official part of the Olympic programme.
Karch Kiraly (USA) and Regla Torres (Cuba) were enthroned as the 20th Century Best Volleyball Players.
Italy men's (1990-98) and Japan women's (1960-1965) were declared the 20th Century Best Volleyball Teams.
The 20th Century Best Volleyball Coaches titles were awarded to Yasutaka Matsudaira, Japan men (1964-1974), and Eugenio George, Cuba women (1990-2000).
Volleyball is a sport played by two teams on a playing court divided by a net. There are different versions available for specific circumstances in order to offer the versatility of the game to everyone. The object of the game is to send the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent's court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent. The team has three hits for returning the ball (in addition to the block contact). The ball is put in play with a service: hit by the server over the net to the opponents. The rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes "out" or a team fails to return it properly. In Volleyball, the team winning a rally scores a point (Rally Point System). When the receiving team wins a rally, it gains a point and the right to serve, and its players rotate one position clockwise.
Beach Volleyball is a sport played by two teams of two players each on a sand court divided by a net. The ball is played by hitting it with any part of the body.
The objective of the game is for each team to send the ball over the net to ground it on the opponent's court, and to prevent the ball from being grounded on its own court. The ball is put into play by the serving player.
The player serves by hitting the ball, with one hand or arm, over the net to the opponent's court. A team is entitled to hit the ball three times to return it to the opponent's court. A player is not allowed to hit the ball twice consecutively (except at blocking and at the first contact). The rally continues until the ball touches the ground, goes "out", or a team fails to return it properly.
Regardless which team is serving, the teams that wins a rally scores a point gaining also the right to serve. This is called “Rally Point System”. The serving player must be alternated every time a team regains the right to serve.
Matches are played in the “best two of three set” format. The first team to win two sets wins the match.
The first two sets are played to 21 points, and the 3rd set if needed is played to 15 points. For all sets a 2 point advantage is required, with no cap.