With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and volleyball now underway, we thought we’d also take a quick look back at some of the highlights of indoor and beach volleyball at the Olympic Games over the years. Check out Olympic Volleyball: Top 5 Amazing, Historic Moments You’ve Got to See!
1. Indoor Volleyball Makes its Debut in 1964
Despite earning an Olympic sport designation back in 1957, indoor volleyball didn’t make its official debut at the Olympic Games till Tokyo 1964.
The Soviet Union men’s team won the gold medal, while on the women’s side, Japan went undefeated in the tournament.
The Japan women continued to do well for the next 15 years, winning the Volleyball World Championships in 1967 and 1974, and claiming the Olympics gold medal again in 1976.
2. Cuba Women Dominate the 1990s
Cuba’s women’s national team reigned supreme from 1991 to 2000, winning gold at the Olympics in 1992, 1996, and 2000, becoming the first nation to win three consecutive volleyball gold medals.
Cuba also won the 1991 World Cup, 1994 World Championship, 1998 World Championship, and 1999 World Cup.
3. Kerri Walsh Jennings & Misty May-Treanor’s Olympic Gold Streak
Kerri and Misty never lost a match in any of their three Olympics together, gaining an incredible streak of three Olympic golds in a row in 2004, 2008, and 2012.
In Athens 2004 Olympics, Kerri and Misty faced, Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs in the semi-finals. Then in the gold-medal match, the pair defeated Brazil’s Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar.
Four years later, at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Kerri and Misty beat the home team Tian Jia and Wang Jie of China in the gold-medal match.
In London 2012 Olympics, playing Xue and Zhang of China in the semi-finals, Jennings and May successfully scraped a victory with a 22-20, 22-20 victory allowing them to go on to win the gold medal.
4. Kerri & April’s Bronze Medal Redemption
After ending her partnership with Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings paired up with Whitney Pavlik, and then later, April Ross.
Between the Association of Volleyball Professionals and FIVB tours, Kerri and April played 44 tournaments together, winning 23 of them. But during the Rio 2016 Olympics, the pair lost to Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre during pool play, then lost to Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas in the semi-finals, eliminating Kerri’s chance for a fourth consecutive gold medal.
In the bronze-medal match versus Talita and Larissa of Brazil, Kerri and April were able to come back around from being down 0-1, and win the bronze in three sets.
5. Russia’s Men’s Team Make a Massive Comeback for Gold in 2012
At the men’s indoor gold-medal match in 2012, Brazil dominated Russia in the first two sets and the vast majority of the third. In the third set, Brazil put in their almost retired captain, Giba, who had not been playing due to injury.
Brazil made it to 24-23 before Russia was able to make their comeback, winning the third set 29-27, and the fourth, and fifth sets also, leading Russia to its first men’s volleyball gold medal since 1980
These are just some of the incredible Olympic volleyball highlights from history…Moving to Tokyo 2020 now, are you watching the Olympic volleyball matches? Which teams are you supporting? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation this summer on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!