|Date||9 – 23 August 2008|
|Location||Guojia Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing / Ao Ti Zhongxin Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing|
|Participants||171 from 12 countries|
|Format||Round-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.
|Ragnhild Aamodt • Karoline Dyhre Breivang • Marit Malm Frafjord • Kari Aalvik Grimsbø • Gro Hammerseng • Katrine Lunde Haraldsen • Kari Mette Johansen • Tonje Larsen • Kristine Lunde • Else-Marthe Sørlie Lybekk • Tonje Nøstvold • Katja Nyberg • Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren • Gøril Snorroeggen|
|Yekaterina Andryushina • Irina Bliznova • Yelena Dmitriyeva • Anna Kareyeva • Yekaterina Marennikova • Yelena Polyonova • Irina Poltoratskaya • Lyudmila Postnova • Oksana Romenskaya • Nataliya Shipilova • Mariya Sidorova • Inna Suslina • Emiliya Turey • Yana Uskova|
|3||Republic of Korea||KOR||Bronze|
|An Jeong-Hwa • Bae Min-Hui • Choi Im-Jeong • Hong Jeong-Ho • Heo Sun-Yeong • Kim Cha-Yeon • Kim Nam-Seon • Kim On-A • Lee Min-Hui • Mun Pil-Hui • Oh Seong-Ok • Oh Yeong-Ran • Park Jeong-Hui • Song Hae-Rim|
|Bernadett Bódi • Rita Borbás • Bernadett Ferling • Anita Görbicz • Orsolya Herr • Ágnes Hornyák • Mónika Kovacsicz • Katalin Pálinger • Krisztina Pigniczki • Piroska Szamoránsky • Gabriella Szűcs • Zsuzsanna Tomori • Timea Tóth • Orsolya Vérten|
|Camille Ayglon • Paule Baudouin • Stéphanie Cano • Sophie Herbrecht • Nina Kanto • Alexandra Lacrabère • Amandine Leynaud • Valérie Nicolas • Véronique Pecqueux-Rolland • Mariama Signate • Raphaëlle Tervel • Maakan Tounkara • Christine Vanparys-Torres • Isabelle Wendling|
|6||People's Republic of China||CHN|
|Huang Dongjie • Huang Hong • Li Bing • Li Weiwei • Liu Guini • Liu Xiaomei • Liu Yun • Sun Laimiao • Wang Min • Wang Shasha • Wei Qiuxiang • Wu Wenjuan • Wu Yanan • Yan Meizhu • Zhang Geng|
|Carmen Amariei • Mihaela Ani Senocico • Valeria Motogna-Beșe • Florina Bârsan • Aurelia Brădeanu • Luminită Dinu • Valentina Elisei • Narcisa Lecușanu • Ramona Maier • Adina Meiroșu • Cristina Neagu • Adriana Olteanu • Tereza Pâslaru • Ioneia Stanca • Talida Tolnai|
|Johanna Ahlm • Therese Bengtsson • Matilda Boson • Jessica Enström • Sara Eriksson • Tina Flognman • Madeleine Grundström • Isabelle Gulldén • Sara Holmgren • Therese Helgesson • Linnea Torstenson • Frida Toveby • Teresa Utkovic • Johanna Wiberg • Annika Wiel Fredén|
|Duda Amorim • Deonise • Darly • Dara • Viviane Jacques • Chana • Daly • Alexandra • Alessandra • Dani Piedade • Ana Paula • Pará • Aline • Lucila|
|Olga Adzhigerskaya • Irina Borechko • Yelena Ilyukhina • Gulzira Iskakova • Nataliya Kubrina • Yuliya Markovich • Kseniya Nikandrova • Tatyana Parfyonova • Marina Pikalova • Yelena Portova • Olga Travnikova • Yekaterina Tyapkova • Yana Vasilyeva • Nataliya Yakovleva|
|Anja Althaus • Maren Baumbach • Sabine Englert • Nadine Härdter • Mandy Hering • Grit Jurack • Nadine Krause • Anna Loerper • Steffi Melbeck • Anne Müller • Sabrina Neukamp • Laura Steinbach • Clara Woltering • Nina Wörz|
|Ilda Bengue • Natália Bernardo • Elisabeth Cailo • Bombo Calandula • Azenaide Carlos • Nair Almeida • Wuta Dombaxi • Mária Eduardo • Isabel Fernandes • Luísa Kiala • Mária Pedro • Odeth Tavares • Filomena Trindade • Elizabeth Viegas|
Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals.
|Match #1||NOR||31 – 24||SWE|
|Match #2||HUN||34 – 30||ROU|
|Match #3||KOR||31 – 23||CHN|
|Match #4||RUS||32 – 31||FRA|
|Match #1||CHN||20 – 19||SWE|
|Match #2||FRA||36 – 34||ROU|
Winner of each match advanced to final round.
|Match #1||NOR||29 – 28||KOR|
|Match #2||RUS||22 – 20||HUN|
|Match 1/2||NOR||34 – 27||RUS|
|Match 3/4||KOR||33 – 28||HUN|
|Match 5/6||FRA||31 – 23||CHN|
|Match 7/8||ROU||34 – 30||SWE|