Olympics Sports >> Handball

Handball

THE TWO EVENTS

  • 1 Men's tournament
  • 1 Women's tournament

THE FORMAT

There is a first round of 12 men's and 12 women's teams which is split into two qualifying groups who play all other group members for points. The top four from each mini league qualify for a knockout stage for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. Semi-final losers play for the bronze medal.

MILESTONES

130-200 AD

Romans and Greeks play a game similar to handball.

1904

Holger Nielsen popularises a game called "handbold" in Denmark.

1919

Karl Schelenz, a physical education teacher from Berlin, establishes the basis for the modern rules for 11-a-side handball on a large pitch.

1936

Eleven-a-side handball appears at the Olympics for the first time and provides a home win for the German side.

1938

The first ever world championships take place for 7-a-side and 11-a-side teams, both of which are won by Germany.

1957

A European wide club competition, the European clubs Cup, is established.

1972

The Games are back in Germany, at Munich, and handball is back on the agenda.

1976

Women's handball is introduced at the Montreal Games.

2004

The Danish women's team win an unprecedented third Olympic title while also achieving the feat at consecutive Games between 1996 and 2004.

2011

The French men's team become the first nation to win four straight world titles as they triumph 37-35 against Denmark after extra-time.

STARS

Andrei Lavrov (USSR/CIS/Russia)

The wall. Widely regarded as the best ever goalkeeper and possibly the best overall player the game has had. By holding at bay the best strikers around he won three Olympic gold medals (1988, 1992 and 2000). He also won the world championship title twice (1993 and 1997) and the European championships in 1996.

Jackson Richardson (France)

A legend. The Reunion Islander with the flowing dreadlocks came to symbolise the flair in the French game in the 1990's. A world champion in 1995 and 2001, 2nd in 1993 and third in 1997, 2003 and 2005. The centre half was voted world player of the year in 1995 and has won all the top club honours.

Magnus Wislander (Sweden)

Player of the century. This centre half, who became a pivot, won two world titles (1990, 1999) and four European crowns (1994, 1998, 2000, 2002). Agonisingly missed out at the Olympics, where he reached the final in 1992, 1996 and 2000 only to end up with silver on each occasion. He was however voted player of the century and scored more than 1000 goals in his career.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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