Several news articles discussing the IOC’s recent decision in Turin to not reinstate Baseball and Softball have referenced Team Handball as an example of a sport not nearly as worthy of a spot on the Olympic program.
While this context is certainly American centric there is also a significant amount of truth to the argument that Team Handball is simply a European sport. On the Women’s side, outside of South Korea, and a little noise recently made by Brazil, the sport has been dominated by European teams. On the Men’s side, outside of a little noise by Egypt and more recently Tunisia, the sport is also dominated by European sides. For more discourse on the sport’s popularity check my earlier blog entry: http://teamhandball.blogspot.com/2005/07/just-how-popular-is-team-handball.html
Team Handball passed an IOC vote last summer, but at some point in the future there will be another vote taken on the sport’s Olympic future. And while the IOC may have disproportionate European membership now, this will probably not always be the case. Hopefully, the IHF is getting this message and we will soon see more aggressive steps to market the sport world-wide.