Is Handball An Olympic Sport?
Handball was first played in the Olympics as field handball in the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, with the gold medal won by Germany on their home turf. This would be field handball's only appearance as an official Olympic sport. Field handball was later played as a demonstration sport in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, but it was never added back to the main docket.
Field handball and indoor handball were both popular forms of the sport in the mid-20th century, separate world championships were even held for each variation every year, but the indoor version emerged as the more popular of the two by 1966.
As indoor handball continued to rise in popularity, it was played by male athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. This competition was won by Yugoslavia. A women's indoor handball competition was added at the next Summer games at Montreal in 1976, where the Soviet Union captured gold in both men's and women's handball. Both men's and women's indoor handball are still Olympic sports today.
Overall, handball has been dominated by European nations. The only non-European nation to medal in men's handball was South Korea on their home court in 1988. In women's handball, South Korea has medaled six times, while China earned bronze once.
In recent years, men's handball has been dominated by the French national team, which won gold in 2008 and 2012 and narrowly lost in 2016 to Denmark, settling for silver.
The women's game has also had a dominant nation: Norway. The Norwegian women's handball teams won gold in both 2008 and 2012 before a bronze finish in 2016.