Snow Volleyball: Like beach volleyball _ with warmer clothes

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Snow volleyball is not an Olympic sport. Probably never will be.

But it had its finest moment on Wednesday when Prince Albert of Monaco — an International Olympic Committee member — showed up at a chilly outdoor exhibition of snow volleyball at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

With hundreds cheering "Albert, Albert, Albert," the Monaco royal made a 30-second cameo appearance on an icy court set up amid plastic palm trees outside the Austria House — the country's promotional venue at the Olympics.

The prince put down his mulled wine, walked on to the court, twirled his right arm to get warm, and put the ball into play.

It was a perfect serve — and a great pitch for the fledgling sport.

"I'm not sure what the possibilities are to include it on the program for the Winter Games, but it's a nice link between summer and winter sports," Albert told The Associated Press. "I've seen it played before in Switzerland, so I knew about it."

And the mulled wine?

"You've got to warm up somehow," Albert said.

They sneered at beach volleyball before it debuted at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Curling. Snowboarding. They're popular Winter Olympics sports now that were obscure — or didn't even exist a few decades ago.

Snow volleyball? Who knows? It's just beach volleyball with warmer clothes.

The exhibition match featured three former Olympic gold medalists — two Brazilians. That's instant credibility.

"It's almost the same as beach volleyball. Same rules, just colder," said Emanuel Rego, a Brazilian who won gold in beach volleyball at the 2004 Olympics. "The cold, I can handle it. I played in 12 degrees (47 F) one time in beach volleyball."

Gilbert Godoy — known universally at Giba — also won gold for Brazil in 2004 in the indoor game.

"It's just like moving in the sand, but it's snow," he said, showing off the soccer cleats players wear for grip.

"This is a tremendous thing we need to promote," Giba added.

Snow volleyball is already played in a small European league. And there's a European championship.

"It's a serious thing," said Martin Kaswurm, an Austrian who gets credit for inventing the sport 10 years ago in Wagrain, Austria, not far from Salsburg. He said he set up a court outside his restaurant, got some exposure, and then began promoting it to Austrian ski resorts.

"It caught on and, and here we are."

Vladimir Grbic won gold in volleyball at the 2000 Olympics. The Serbian summed up the frigid game's appeal.

"If you want to achieve something important, you have to be a little crazy," he said.


More AP Olympics:

Related News

Egyptian judo athlete refuses to shake Israeli's hand

Aug 12, 2016

Middle Eastern politics spills onto the judo mat at the Olympics when an Egyptian competitor refused to shake the hand of his winning Israeli opponent

Next US Olympic teen sensation? Maybe Ashima Shiraishi

Aug 12, 2016

With rock climbing coming to the Tokyo Games in 2020, Ashima Shiraishi could be the next Simone Biles or Mallory Pugh

Kenya Olympic official suspended, IOC investigates runner

Aug 12, 2016

The IAAF has suspended the Kenyan track team's manager and one of the country's runners faces an IOC investigation after they both become involved in doping scandals at the Olympics


About Us

Next Sports Web is a distinct sports news site focusing on the other aspect of the sports world which are hardly mentioned or spoken about.

Contact us: