Many of the most well-known volleyball players became famous as a result of their exploits playing beach volleyball, participating in the Olympic Games or, in some cases, both, like Karch Kiraly, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh, Sinjin Smith, Holly McPeak and Randy Stoklos. Other well-known volleyball players include Steve Timmons, Paula Weishoff, Kent Steffes and Flo Hyman.
Although it has been played since the 1920s, beach volleyball did not gain immense popularity until the 1980s, fueled by the play of Kiraly, Smith and others. Beach volleyball first began as an Olympic sport in 1996, with Kiraly winning a gold medal to go with two that he won previously playing with the United States indoor volleyball team. May-Treanor is a two-time Olympic champion and McPeak earned three gold medals during her career.