Lausanne, Switzerland, July 24, 2019 - The FIVB has promised a volleyball homecoming party one year from today when the sport returns to its Olympic birthplace, alongside beach volleyball, at Tokyo 2020.
Volleyball was first included in the Olympic Games at Tokyo 1964 and cemented its place in the hearts of the Japanese public when their women’s national team won Olympic gold and their men’s team secured bronze. Known as the ‘Witches of the Orient’ for their spellbinding performances, the Japanese women’s team’s final against the Soviet Union in 1964 was watched by more than two thirds of the entire country.
The Japanese men’s team reached the pinnacle of the sport eight years later when they won gold at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games and in 1976 in Montreal the women’s team also returned to the top of the podium. Japan ranks as the fourth most successful Olympic volleyball nation, with three gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
Since its debut in 1964 volleyball has grown to become one of the most popular sports at the Olympic Games. Volleyball and beach volleyball events completely sold out the last two Olympic Games, and volleyball was the number one sport by accumulated hours of viewership at Rio 2016, according to the IOC Data report.
Brazil celebrate winning gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
The FIVB is looking to build on this success and there is no reason why volleyball and beach volleyball will not sell out once again in Tokyo. Volleyball remains one of Japan’s most loved sports. A recent national survey reported that 35 percent of people between 12 and 21 are looking forward to watching the sport more than any other in 2020.
"There is a great historical connection between the FIVB and Japan and we want to celebrate that in Tokyo,” FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° said, “It is a wonderful opportunity to connect our sport’s illustrious past with the exciting future that we are creating.”
For both volleyball and beach volleyball the FIVB is continuing to lead the way in developing pioneering fan engagement, entertainment and sports presentation initiatives to ensure the very best experience at its competitions. With courtside DJs and MCs, as well as instant replays broadcast in the arena, fans can easily follow the narrative in each match and become an integral part of creating an up-tempo, exciting atmosphere. For those watching around the world, the FIVB’s partnership with IMG has raised the quality of television production and introduced the Federation’s first Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming service, Volleyball TV.
In Tokyo, national teams will compete in the Ariake Arena, a brand new stadium, purpose-built for the Olympic Games. As a permanent venue, there are additional legacy benefits that the 12,000-seater stadium will provide to local residents and businesses. Aside from hosting volleyball, the Arena will be utilised for other sporting events, concerts and conventions. Beach volleyball matches will take place at the spectacular Shiokaze Park on the Tokyo waterfront.
The packed beach volleyball venue at Rio 2016
“When the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee decided to invest in the Ariake Arena, it was a great day for the FIVB and Japanese volleyball,” President Graça said. “This state-of-the-art stadium will inspire the next generation of Japanese volleyball players, not just during the Games but for years to come.”