Beach Volleyball guide - London 2012 Olympic Games

Your complete guide to beach volleyball ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Photograph: Beach volleyball via Shutterstock

Converted: Washboard stomachs, an abundance of wraparound Oakley sunglasses and a ritzy location make this London 2012’s glamour event.

Confused: The Maxim magazine reader's Olympic sport of choice.

RECOMMENDED: See our full list of London 2012 Olympic sport guides

Beach Volleyball - The essential guide

Street cred: Played by tall, toned, chilled-out surfer types. Often physically attractive. Nice tans. Love high-fiving.

Who’s good? USA and Brazil.

The basics: Pretty much the same rules as indoor volleyball except teams play in pairs rather than sixes and there’s, like, sand everywhere. And cheerleaders.

Star player: USA star Misty May-Treanor, pleasingly nicknamed ‘The Turtle’, is the most successful women’s player of all time. Her partner Kerri Walsh is also nifty but her nickname isn't as good (it's 'Six Feet of Sunshine').   

As seen in: ‘Side Out’ (1990), beach volleyball’s answer to Point Break – but with more gratuitous bikini shots. For the ladies, there's also a memorable slow-motion scene in ‘Top Gun’.

Almost useless fact: Beach volleyball is a popular sport among nudists and there is a highly regarded nude tournament (we’re not making this up) every year at White Thorn nudist lodge in Pennsylvania.   

Do say: ‘There’s much more to beach volleyball than that tired cliché of good-looking people prancing around semi-naked.’

Don't say: 'Whoaaaa!'