We use cookies

By continuing to browse ihf.info, you agree to our terms of use , privacy policy and the use of cookies. For more information, please review our cookie policy.



Date: 21.08.2016

The Games of the XXXI Olympiad saw 20 different nations compete for the medals in the men’s and women’s handball competitions, with first-time champions crowned in each gender category – Russia for the women, and Denmark in the men’s tournament. 

Neither of the champions of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games – Norway (women) and France (men) – were able to defend their titles, but both claimed medals nonetheless, with Norway ending the competition as the bronze medallists and France winning silver. France were also the recipient of the silver medal in the women’s event, while Germany secured the bronze medal when they defeated Poland on the final day of competition. 

After 16 days full of surprise results, special moments on and off court, and a lively atmosphere in Future Arena, the home of the handball competition, we look back on some highlights of Rio 2016: 

1. Angola defeated the 2015 IHF Women’s World Championship bronze medallists Romania in their opening match, and were perhaps the biggest surprise on court in Future Arena at Rio 2016. The team went on to qualify for the quarter-finals, where they were eliminated by Russia.
2. In the men’s competition, hosts Brazil recorded momentous wins against Poland and Germany – the teams that went on to contest the bronze medal. 

3. Players and supporters celebrated the age of the ‘selfie’ after matches. We are sure our players’ positive interactions with Brazilian supporters earned us many new handball fans!

4. For the first time, two nations from Pan America competed at the Olympic Games, in both the men’s and women’s competitions. 
5. The youngest player on court at Rio 2016, Slovenia’s Blaz Janc, took 134.28 minutes to miss a shot. At that point he was ranked as second top scorer behind Poland’s Karol Bielecki, with 14 goals at 100% in their first two matches. He was finally stopped by Mattias Andersson in their round three match versus Sweden. 

6. For the first time, three different continents – Asia, Pan America and Europe – were represented in the quarter-final stage of the men’s competition. 

7. The Denmark men’s team, and the France and Netherlands women’s sides, reached their first ever semi-finals at the Olympic Games. Denmark and France went on to secure the gold and medals respectively, while the 2015 IHF Women’s World Championship silver medallists ranked fourth in their debut Olympic Games.

8. All four semi-finals were decided in the last 10 seconds – and all with only a one-goal difference. Two of the games – Norway versus Russia in the women’s competition, and Denmark against Poland in the men’s – went into extra time. Both men’s semi-finals ended with a score of 29:28 in favour of the winning team, while France beat the Netherlands 24:23 and Russia ended Norway’s dream of three consecutive Olympic titles with a score of 38:37. 

9. Russia claimed their first ever gold in a women’s team sport at the Olympic Games, and became only the second women’s team to win all of their matches in the handball competition after Norway did so in 2008. 

10. Denmark ended France’s eight-year grip on the Olympic title when they won the final 28:26, securing their first ever gold medal in the men’s handball competition.