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Why is "Beach Volleyball" an Olympic Sport?

Can anyone explain to me why Beach Volleyball is an Olympic sport?

I am puzzled by this. Maybe it's just one of those things I don't understand, but which makes perfect sense to everybody else. No, I think you'd have to be some kind of Volleyball-junkie to fully argue the reasoning for contesting Olympic volleyball tournaments on two (2) different surfaces.

Volleyball, of course, is a very physical game, but the "beach" part is what bothers me. It seems a bit leisurely, and even a bit elitist. It conjures up images of informal games thrown together by half-drunk college kids looking to get laid; images of Maverick, Goose, the Iceman, and bad 80s music; ugly flourescent sportswear; blistering sunshine and warm 32 oz. cups of beer. Somehow this doesn't fit with my image of the Olympics as rigorous and serious competition by dedicated amatuers, sacrificing their social lives at the altar of Sport.

This is a version of a normally In-door sport, played by people so they can frolick in the sun. What's next? Olympic paddle-ball? What about Olympic Ultimate Frisbee? Where do you draw the line? I remember this debate arising when Snowboarding was instated as an Olympic sport. Although somehow even Snowboarding seems more acceptable than Beach Volleyball, because there are a bunch of other "snow-based" sports already. If there were Beach Tennis, Beach Soccer, Beach Baseball, then I could understand. But there isn't.

The only (major) plus-side to all this, is that the women's beach volleyball players are virtually all Amazons; six-feet, athletic, tan, and wearing sports-bikinis. They are sweating, diving in the sand, slapping each other on the bum after a good point...not a bad spectacle, really. And for that alone, I guess I must conclude that beach volleyball indeed has its place.

In fact, maybe I just answered the question posed in the title of this blog entry. Could it be as simple as that? We live in strange, sex-infused times, where everyone is in sales, and sex is the ultimate form of advertising...but there must be something more to it. It must be more than a desire to simultaneously jack-up the T.V. ratings of the Olympics, and to see sweating, half-naked women pummell a ball at each other in the blazing sun for two days straight. Yeah. There has to be more to it than that...one would think.

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