When Was Handball Added To The Olympics?

When Was Handball Added To The Olympics

Handball is a fun and high-energy sport that can be played by all ages. While handball is great for exercise and recreation, there are professional handball leagues throughout the world, and it is even an Olympic sport. Keep reading to find out about handball’s long and unique history at the Olympics.

When did Handball make its Olympic debut?

Handball made its Olympic debut in 1936 when the games were held in Berlin, Germany. As the host country, Germany was allowed to add one new sport to the event’s roster, and they chose handball. However, when it was first featured in the Olympic Games, handball was not the game we know and love today.

Field Handball at the Olympics

In 1936, handball was played on a grass field, with 11 players on each side. Only a men's event was played, and Germany took home the gold medal. That sport, now known as field handball, would make only one more appearance at the Olympics as a demonstration sport in 1952. While the outdoor version of handball only became less and less popular throughout the years, the indoor version of the sport only grew in participants and fans.

Indoor Handball at the Olympics

By the 1960s, the popularity of field handball was falling. As a result, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted in 1965 to add indoor handball to the Olympic program for future editions, replacing field handball. In 1972 at the Munich Games, indoor handball was first played in the Olympics. This first event, limited then to just men, was won by Yugoslavia. The sport was a success, and a women's event was added to the next edition. At the 1976 Games, the Soviet Union took home gold in both the men's and women's handball tournaments.


When was women’s handball added to the Olympics?

Women’s handball was added to the Olympics in 1976. This was the first Summer Olympics after indoor handball had been included as a men’s event. Out of a field of six teams, the Soviet Union took the gold medal at the inaugural women’s handball event at the Montreal Summer Games. Since then, women’s handball has been included in every Summer Olympics.

When was indoor handball added to the Olympics?

Indoor handball debuted as a sport at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. This tournament was limited to only men’s national teams and was won by Yugoslavia. However, a version of handball played on the field with eleven-player teams debuted at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany and was never played again as an official Olympic sport until indoor handball was introduced almost 40 years later.