By Josh Powell
Beach volleyball is one of the easiest Olympic sports to enjoy, and yes that is because there are plenty of bang-tidy birds wearing bikinis. There are also plenty of fellas wearing the ‘optional vests’ for all the ladies out there in need of some eye candy after reading 50 Shades of Grey. But for all the men (and women) planning to have a cheeky perv why not get clued up on the sport to avoid any barneys with the other half.
There are only two players per team in beach volleyball and it is a sport renowned for its fast-paced action and athleticism. Each team is allowed three touches to return the ball but a player can not have consecutive touches. The idea of the game is to ground the ball in the opponents half or make them whack it out of bounds.
In the men’s game the net is eight feet high and in the women’s game it is only seven-foot-four. It is a best of three sets game and the first team to score 21 points wins the set, apart from in a deciding set when it is first to 15.
So that’s the basics covered, now who should you be cheering on? Well due to the lack of sunshine in the country and the fact our beaches are littered with rocks, supermarket trolleys and tar, Team GB don’t get much practice in and aren’t expected to do well. They are 500/1 in both the men’s and women’s outright markets.
Instead why don’t you don your Brazilian yellow? The Brazilian team have picked up nine medals, including two golds in the sport since it joined the Olympics in 1996.
The men are the 5/4 favourites to win gold in London after picking up silver and bronze in 2008. The women are 11/5 to win the tournament outright but will face a tricky test against the USA ladies who are the 5/4 favourites. The USA ladies have won gold in 2004 and 2008 and will be well-backed to make it a third consecutive success this year.
Now you’re all clued up and can enjoy the action safe in the knowledge it’s not just perving. Saying you are keenly watching the matches to see if the Brazil ladies can win their first gold medal since 1996 and stop the USA’s era of dominance sounds a lot better than trying to explain that you’re having a cheeky look.