| Event type

Handball, Women

Date9 – 23 August 2008
LocationGuojia Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing / Ao Ti Zhongxin Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing
Participants171 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.

The 12 women’s teams qualified for the 2008 Olympics as follows – China as the host nation; Russia as the 2007 World Champion; the top six teams from the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Germany, Sweden, Romania, Hungary, France, South Korea); the 2006 European Champion (Norway); Brazil as the 2007 Pan American Games Champion; and the winners of the 2007 Asian and 2008 African Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (Kazakhstan, Angola, respectively). A surprising absentee was Denmark, winner of the past three Olympic gold medals. They had failed to qualify after finishing only 11th at the 2006 Europeans.

The absence of Denmark made the two favorites Russia (the reigning World Champion) and Norway (runner-up). Both nations placed top of their pool in Beijing, Norway winning each of its five pool matches, while Russia drew South Korea, the 2004 silver medallists. Norway also had little trouble making the semi-finals, beating Sweden easily 31-24. The Russians faced a tougher opponent in France, which they only overcame in extra time after tying 24-24. The other two semi-finalists were South Korea and Hungary, both traditionally strong handball nations.

Russia faced Hungary in the semi-finals, taking a strong lead in the first half (14-9). Hungary then managed a slight comeback, but nothing that worried the Russians, who made their first Olympic final – although the Soviet Union had won two golds in 1976 and 1980. The other semi-final was between Norway and South Korea, the 1988 and 1992 Olympic finalists. Korea took a four-point lead halfway through the first half, but by the whistle, the Norwegians had closed it to 15-14. They opened strongly in the second half, pulling away to 20-17. In the last minute, with Norway short-handed, the Koreans scored three times to tie the match at 28-28. The last goal by Mun Pil-Hui came with 7 seconds left on the clock. With some of the Koreans still cheering, the Norwegians quickly restarted play, passed twice, and Gro Hammerseng put the ball in the lower left corner – right at the horn for full time. The Koreans immediately protested the goal was made after full time, but the goal was allowed. Korea did not give up, and their coach continued arguing with the match officials for close to an hour, and Korea lodged various official protests, all of which were denied.

Norway and Russia met in the final of a major tournament for the fourth time since 2001, with the Russians having won two of these encounters. But compared to the semi-finals, the final was hardly a contest. Within 10 minutes, the Norwegians had pulled away to 9-2 lead, after which they controlled the match. Russia managed to end the first half at 18-13, but never had a chance in the second half. Norway managed to make the gap as wide as 34-23 with slightly over a minute to play. Four late goals by the Russians couldn’t prevent a clear Norwegian victory – the first ever at the Olympics. Korea had bounced back after the deception in the semi-finals, and defeated Hungary for the bronze, the country’s sixth Olympic medal in women’s handball.

2Russian FederationRUSSilver
3Republic of KoreaKORBronze
6People's Republic of ChinaCHN

Preliminary Round

Date9 – 17 August 2008

Group A

3People's Republic of ChinaCHN2034122-135
Match #109 Aug 9:00FranceFRA32 – 21AngolaANG
Match #209 Aug 14:00RomaniaROU31 – 19KazakhstanKAZ
Match #309 Aug 19:00NorwayNOR30 – 23People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match #411 Aug 9:00FranceFRA21 – 18KazakhstanKAZ
Match #511 Aug 14:00NorwayNOR31 – 17AngolaANG
Match #611 Aug 19:00RomaniaROU34 – 20People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match #713 Aug 10:45RomaniaROU34 – 26FranceFRA
Match #813 Aug 15:45People's Republic of ChinaCHN32 – 24AngolaANG
Match #913 Aug 19:00NorwayNOR35 – 19KazakhstanKAZ
Match #1015 Aug 9:00KazakhstanKAZ29 – 26People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match #1115 Aug 15:45RomaniaROU28 – 23AngolaANG
Match #1215 Aug 19:00NorwayNOR34 – 24FranceFRA
Match #1317 Aug 10:45AngolaANG24 – 24KazakhstanKAZ
Match #1417 Aug 14:00NorwayNOR24 – 23RomaniaROU
Match #1517 Aug 15:45People's Republic of ChinaCHN21 – 18FranceFRA

Group B

1Russian FederationRUS4109148-125
2Republic of KoreaKOR3117155-127
Match #109 Aug 10:45HungaryHUN30 – 24SwedenSWE
Match #209 Aug 15:45Republic of KoreaKOR29 – 29Russian FederationRUS
Match #309 Aug 20:45GermanyGER24 – 22BrazilBRA
Match #411 Aug 10:45BrazilBRA28 – 28HungaryHUN
Match #511 Aug 15:45Republic of KoreaKOR30 – 20GermanyGER
Match #611 Aug 20:45Russian FederationRUS28 – 24SwedenSWE
Match #713 Aug 9:00Russian FederationRUS28 – 19BrazilBRA
Match #813 Aug 14:00Republic of KoreaKOR31 – 23SwedenSWE
Match #913 Aug 20:45HungaryHUN25 – 24GermanyGER
Match #1015 Aug 10:45BrazilBRA33 – 32Republic of KoreaKOR
Match #1115 Aug 14:00SwedenSWE27 – 26GermanyGER
Match #1215 Aug 20:45Russian FederationRUS33 – 24HungaryHUN
Match #1317 Aug 9:00SwedenSWE25 – 22BrazilBRA
Match #1417 Aug 19:00Russian FederationRUS30 – 29GermanyGER
Match #1517 Aug 20:45Republic of KoreaKOR33 – 22HungaryHUN


Date19 August 2008
FormatWinner of each match advanced to semi-finals.
Match #119 Aug 12:00NorwayNOR31 – 24SwedenSWE
Match #219 Aug 14:15HungaryHUN34 – 30RomaniaROU
Match #319 Aug 18:00Republic of KoreaKOR31 – 23People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match #419 Aug 20:15Russian FederationRUS32 – 31FranceFRAAfter Extra Time

Classification Round 5-8

Date21 August 2008
FormatClassification matches.
Match #121 Aug 12:00People's Republic of ChinaCHN20 – 19SwedenSWE
Match #221 Aug 14:15FranceFRA36 – 34RomaniaROUAfter Extra Time


Date21 August 2008
FormatWinner of each match advanced to final round.
Match #121 Aug 18:00NorwayNOR29 – 28Republic of KoreaKOR
Match #221 Aug 20:15Russian FederationRUS22 – 20HungaryHUN

Final Round

Date23 August 2008
FormatMedal round.
Match 1/223 Aug 15:45NorwayNOR34 – 27Russian FederationRUS
Match 3/423 Aug 13:30Republic of KoreaKOR33 – 28HungaryHUN
Match 5/623 Aug 10:15FranceFRA31 – 23People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match 7/823 Aug 8:00RomaniaROU34 – 30SwedenSWE