That’s A Thing? Team Handball
Played mostly in Germany and Scandinavia, Team Handball is an Olympic sport that never really took off here in the United States. Personally, when I think of handball, I think of that game I played with my classmates as a child where you hit a ball against the wall, under a seemingly arbitrary and never quite finalized set of rules as to which types of hits were allowed and which were not.
This may be one of the reasons why the sport never really took off here, but who knows? The sport has elements of soccer and basketball, seeing teams of 7 players (including goalies) attempt to throw a ball into a net from outside the goalie area, and they advance by dribbling and passing. It is a fast-paced game that highlights a person’s athleticism, so it remains a mystery as to why it has not become more popular in the U.S.
The highest level of Team Handball is played at the Olympics. It has been a part of the Games since the 1972 Munich Games, though its introduction was sadly overshadowed by the massacre of the Israeli athletes. Overall, France has won the most medals in Men’s Team Handball, with 4 total (2 Gold). In the 2016 Rio Games, Denmark beat France for the Gold Medal by a score of 28-26. On the Women’s side, South Korea and Norway have each won 6 medals, which makes them the countries with the highest medal count for Team Handball, however Denmark’s 3 golds place them on top of the sport as the most successful country participating in the sport at the Olympic level. The United States has never medaled in the event at the Olympics.
The rules of the game are hard to compress into one short paragraph. However, USA Team Handball made a video that explains more about the sport. So, yes, Team Handball is a thing.
(photo courtesy of Google Images)