Last Updated: 26/07/11 6:29pm
After playing host to the likes of The Rolling Stones, Madonna and Oasis in recent times, Earls Court opens its doors to the team-oriented sport of volleyball from July 28-August 12.
There are only two gold medals up for grabs - team competitions for men and women, with six players on either team separated by a high net that is set at 2.43m for men and 2.24m for women.
Getting the ball to hit the floor inside the opponents' half of the court is the name of the game or, as in tennis, if the opponent fails to get the ball back over the net or hits the ball outside the court.
Each team is allowed three touches (though not two consecutively from the same player) to get the ball back, and can use any part of the body to do so. Points can be won on serve or against serve. Whichever team won the last point serves. If they served previously it will be the same player to serve, if not it is rotated to the next player - the six players are arranged in two banks of three and rotate clockwise when they do.
Matches are the best of five sets, with 25 points needed to win a set for women and 30 for men (15 in the fifth and deciding set), though a two-point margin is needed to win a set. Twelve competing nations are split into two groups of six before quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.
The game of volleyball, originally called "mintonette", was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan. Morgan, a graduate of the Springfield College of the YMCA, designed the game to be a combination of basketball, baseball, tennis and handball.
Volleyball was a demonstration sport at the 1924 Games in Paris, but only became part of the programme in 1964 in Tokyo. A total of 38 matches for both men and women will take place over 16 days of competition, with the traditional leading nations of Brazil, Russia, Italy and the US expected to dominate again.
Dami Bakare: The 22-year-old Londoner wears No.3 and plays opposite.
Slawek Master: The 27-year-old setter has enjoyed previous European experience playing for Polish side KS Jastrebski Wegiel and Dutch club Martinus.
Nichola Osborne: The women's captain plays in the middle for Malory Eagles in London.
Grace Carter: The 21-year-old from Nottingham stands at a mighty 183cm tall.
The Cuban women's team went unbeaten in all international competition from 1992 in Barcelona up to the 2002 world championships in Germany, claiming three Olympic golds and two world championships in a golden age for the sport in the country.
As always, the Brazilians, Russians, Americans and Italians will be strong, although the Cuban women are always a force too. Despite losing to the USA in the final in Beijing, Brazil's men have dominated the sport in this century, and boast the world's most famous player in the poster-friendly Gilberto Amaury de Godoy Filh - or Giba to most people. The evergreen Ivan Miljkovic is an explosive scoring threat for the fancied Serbians. In the women's event, Cuba are the great entertainers, with captain Yumilka Ruiz Lua their leading light.
Regla Torres Heerrera from Cuba was voted the player of the century for her three straight gold medals between 1992 and 2000 with Cuba, the first when she was just 17. Perhaps the greatest male Olympic volleyball player of all time was Charles 'Karch' Kiraly, who has two indoor gold medals as well as a beach volleyball gold from Atlanta, the only player to have claimed gold in both disciplines.
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
A week into the Games of the XXX Olympiad, Richard Moore brings us his half-way highs and lows
Linford Christie sprinted to 100m gold for Britain at an Olympic Games best remembered for America's basketball dream team.