London 2012: Handball
Tell me about Handball:
Handball, a unique combination of basketball, water polo, and soccer, is a sport that captivates the Olympic audience. The fast pace and quick scoring game joined the Olympics at the Berlin 1936 games for the men’s teams and the women’s side of handball made its first appearance 40 years later at the Montreal 1976 Olympic games. team handball will be played at Olympic Park. There will be 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams competing in handball. Each team is made up of 14 players, and each country is limited to one men’s and one women’s team.
What’s up with the scoring?
Handball is played on an indoor court, divided into two halves with two soccer-like goals at either end with a six-meter arc-shaped area in front of each goal. The ball is similar in size to a volleyball and players use their hands to move the ball up and down the court. Each team has seven players on the court: six “field” players and one goalie. Player positions include a wing, who is someone who attacks from the outside or ‘wings’ of the court; a back, who is usually the team’s top scorer; and a pivot, who is normally taller and uses his/her height as an advantageous way to score goals and play defense. The goalie is the only player allowed in the arc in front of the goal. Players are only allowed to shoot within the arc if they jump into the area and release the ball while in the air before they hit the ground. In many handball games, more than 40 goals will be scored. Players are not allowed to take more than three steps without passing or dribbling
International players to watch:
France is the reigning Olympic champions after taking home the gold medal in Beijing 2008 by beating Iceland 28-23. The French men’s Handball team will undoubtedly be looking to defend their gold medal in the upcoming Olympic Games. Nikola Karabatic, a back who was named a World Champion in 2009 and 2011, and Theirry Omeyer, one of the best goalies the game of handball has seen, will be looking to lead France to another gold medal.
As for the Women’s Handball event, Norway will be looking to re-defend the gold medal they won at the Beiijing 2008 Olympics. Before Norway’s victory in 2008, Denmark had dominated the gold medal for Women’s handball in the Olympics since 1996. After Denmark failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games, Norway took the opportunity to win gold. On August 3, Denmark and Norway will meet in the preliminary rounds and start the race towards gold.
Unfortunately the USA will not have a men’s or women’s team for the Olympic Handball.
Talk like an Olympian – terms to know:
Back – three of the players who typically score the most goals for their team
Pivot – player who attacks up the middle and defends at the middle point of the arc while using their height to their advantage.
7-meter throw – similar to a penalty shot or free throw, attacker gets the ball one-on-one with the goalie due to an infraction on the opposing team