Christine Mansour leaps with a green ball to avoid an opponent.


Team USA athlete optimizes her MBA to take her sport to the Olympics.

Rising and falling, Christine Mansour (MBA ’24) moves like the surf beyond the beach handball court where she leaps to score another goal. Spinning 360 degrees in the air, she releases the ball just before landing back on the sand and watches it sail into the net. Cheers and groans from onlookers meet the changing scoreboard, but Mansour is too busy celebrating with her teammates to notice.

Christine Mansour Mansour is the only female beach handball athlete joining Team USA this summer at the Olympics in Paris, where the sport will be showcased for the first time. Though little known in the United States, handball is one of the most popular sports in Europe, and Mansour has high hopes that the showcase will secure beach handball a permanent spot as an Olympic sport.

 “Participating in the Olympic showcase as a representative of beach handball fills me with profound pride and honor,” she said. “As the sole female selected from North America for the All-Star showcase, I am privileged to embody the burgeoning growth of our sport in this region.”

Having some similarities to beach volleyball, water polo and basketball, the sport fits well with Mansour’s background as a Division 1 basketball player at Harvard University. She became interested in handball while still at Harvard but didn’t fall in love with it until she discovered its beach counterpart, which involves less contact and more finesse than the better-known, indoor version. During the two, 10-minute plays, eight athletes compete on the court, with three from each team sprinting across the sand and executing terrific passes and spins to get a six-inch ball past opposing goalies. In Paris, Mansour will be paired with the best female athletes from other countries to represent beach handball on the world’s biggest stage.

Since becoming a beach handball athlete, Mansour has been honored as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 2019 World Championship Regional Qualifier in Trinidad and Tobago, awarded Best Pivot in the 2022 World Games in Alabama, earning recognition as the USA Team Handball 2022 Female Athlete of the Year, and the Top Scorer at the 2022 Beach Handball World Championship in Greece, the International Handball Federation Global Tour tournament and the 2024 World Championship Regional Qualifier in Puerto Rico. She also established the first Dual Nation American/Dutch beach handball team, which evolved into a residency program for elite American athletes and finished fifth in its European Tour.

Competing at the Olympics is a dream that Mansour has pursued relentlessly through her athletic career, and she takes the responsibility of representing her sport as well as her ability seriously, considering herself an ambassador to elevate beach handball’s global prominence. Dedicated to the future of beach handball, Mansour decided to equip herself with the tools needed to promote the sport and engage with stakeholders through the University of Florida Warrington College of Business’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

“Through courses in finance and strategic management, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of business dynamics, sponsorship acquisition and strategic planning, which are essential for elevating beach handball’s profile and expanding its reach worldwide,” she said. “Additionally, the networking opportunities and mentorship provided by the program have connected me with professionals who offer invaluable guidance and support in advancing the sport’s growth and development.”

Christine Mansour lunges with a handball. Preparing for the Olympic showcase while earning her MBA means that most of Mansour’s time is spent in the gym or in the classroom. Morning and evening training sessions are interspersed by classes and studying, while weekends are often filled with travel for tournaments, competitions and training camps.

“Balancing my studies with professional activities in beach handball presents its share of challenges, but it’s a balancing act I gladly undertake,” she said. “It’s demanding, but the passion I have for both my sport and academic pursuits fuels my determination to excel in both areas.”

Through the challenges of training and earning her degree, Mansour has been energized by the support of her family, coaches, teammates and academic mentors. Now, with her diploma in hand and the Olympics just around the corner, she’s ready to step onto the court and inspire others toward their goals.

“With dedication, resilience and a relentless pursuit of excellence, I believe anything is possible.”