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Beach volleyball is the outdoor equivalent of volleyball and – despite its glamorous, sun-kissed image – is every bit as gruelling as its indoor counterpart.

Beach volleyball first appeared in the 1920s in Santa Monica, California, and quickly spread across the world as a popular holiday and leisure sport.

It made its Olympic debut as both a men’s and women’s sport in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. Over 150 countries compete in the discipline, but so far the medal honours have been dominated by two popular exponents of the sport – Brazil and the USA – who have 11 and nine medals respectively.