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Learn More About Handball

Male Handball Players

What is the history of handball?

While a version of handball has been played since ancient Rome, handball, as we know it today, was invented in the late 19th century in Denmark by Nicolaj Ernst. At around the same time, handball spread to Sweden and Germany where it was played outdoors. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, handball gained popularity across the United States.

Handball at the Olympic Games

Handball was first included in the 1936 Olympic Games as an outdoor event but was discontinued as an Olympic sport for over three decades. However, in the 1972 Olympics, indoor handball was introduced and Yugoslavia won the first gold medal. 

Women’s handball was added to the Olympics in Montreal’s 1976 Olympic Games. The Soviet Union took home two gold medals in the first women’s Olympic competition for handball and was victorious.

What are the current Olympic handball events?

Handball at the Olympic consists of a 12 team tournament men’s event and a 12 team tournament women’s event.

Visit USA Team Handball to learn more

Sports in this article

Handball, Beach Handball

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