Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
The first modern handball rules were drawn up by Holger Nielsen, an Olympic fencing and shooting medallist from Denmark. Scandinavia remains strong with Norway and Denmark dominating recent women’s events, and Sweden and Iceland’s men doing well.
It is the most European of sports, with South Korea being the only country from another continent to win a medal. This could change as Brazil were women’s world champions in 2013 and Qatar men’s finalists in 2015, though many of its players were born in Europe.
Spain has a curious Olympic record – it has never reached a final but has been the most consistent nation, winning four bronzes since 1996. This makes it even more surprising that its men failed to qualify for Rio, ending an unbroken sequence dating back to 1976.
Next: From throwing a ball to hitting one with a stick – the leading countries in hockey