Lausanne, Switzerland, May 11, 2012 - As part of a series building up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, the FIVB is looking back at previous Olympic volleyball tournaments. In this edition, Barcelona 1992 is in focus, which saw Cuba women and Brazil men reach the podium for the first time.
Barcelona 1992 provided a platform for teams from central and southern America to show their new-found volleyball prowess, with first-time Olympic gold medallists in the shape of Cuba’s women and Brazil’s men.
Since their last appearance at the Olympics in 1980, the Cuban women’s team had established themselves as clearly the best team in the world, winning their first major title at the previous year’s World Cup. Now they were out to break the Soviet/Japanese dominance of Olympic volleyball.
The semifinals featured the four best teams in the world – Cuba, CIS (formerly USSR), Brazil and USA. The unbeaten Cubans were put to the test by the Americans, who led 9-8 in the fifth set before Cuba scored five straight points and eventually ran out 15-11 winners in the decider.
In the final Cuba met the mighty CIS, four time Olympic champions as the Soviet Union and the 1990 world champions. But although each set was keenly contested, Cuba were 3-1 winners (16-14, 12-15, 15-12, 15-13) while USA, featuring tournament MVP Paula Weishoff, pipped Brazil to the bronze.
Inspired by their up-and-coming coach, José Roberto Guimarães, Brazil did rather better in the men’s event. In the semifinals they beat tournament favourites USA, the 1984 and 1988 Olympic champions, before comfortably winning the final 15-12, 15-8, 15-5 against the Netherlands, who had come through despite losing four of their pool matches!
The finals, at Barcelona’s renowned Palau Sant Jordi, were quite a spectacle according to the 1992 Official Olympic Report, especially the men’s: “The rhythm of the Brazilian victories swelled the ranks of their supporters, clearly identifiable by the green of their shirts.
“The supporters of the Dutch team, in their fluorescent orange shirts, also contributed to the atmosphere. The final of the men's competition between these two countries was therefore an extraordinary explosion of colour.”
This article is one of a series in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games as the FIVB looks back at previous Olympic volleyball tournaments.
For week one’s piece on the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games click here
For week two’s piece on the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games click here
For week three’s piece on the Munich 1972 Olympic Games click here
For week four’s piece on the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games click here
For week five’s piece on the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games click here
For week six’s piece on the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games click here
Olympic Beach Volleyball review – What to expect in Rio?
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 27, 2012 - As part of an end-of-year review series, the FIVB takes a look back at the success of beach volleyball at t... More...
Olympic Volleyball review - Stunning finals highlight terrific tournament
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 26, 2012 - As part of an end-of-year review series, the FIVB takes a look back at the outstanding volleyball competiti... More...
Beach volleyball voted one of the highlights of London 2012
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 20, 2012 – Beach volleyball has been named as one of the highlights of the 2012 London Olympic Games by Olympic.org.... More...
Brink and Reckermann handling celebrity well
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 12, 2012 – With Europe’s first beach volleyball gold around their necks, Brink and Reckermann have become genuine sta... More...
Walsh reflects on May-Treanor retirement, while her career moves ahead
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 28, 2012 – As three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh appears to have wrapped up her 2012 season, the FIVB looks back on... More...
May-Treanor's retirement brings an end to the sport's greatest pairing
London, Great Britain, August 24, 2012 – Three weeks after the end of the London Olympics, the FIVB reflects on the amazing team of Misty May-Treanor ... More...
Russia sets the bar high, but expect big changes from Brazil and USA, says Tom Hoff
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 22, 2012 - In a final retrospective on the London Olympics, former USA captain Tom Hoff talks about the Russian players ... More...
Olympic beach volleyball sand distributed
London, Great Britain, August 20, 2012 - Over 4,000 tons of sand has been donated by The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) from the temporary b... More...
Russia come from behind to win Olympic title after 32 years, Brazil and Italy get silver and bronze
London, Great Britain, August 12, 2012 – The last day of action of the men’s volleyball tournament at Earls Court provided all fans with the right cli... More...
Brazilian legend Giba calls time on career
London, Great Britain, August 12, 2012 – Brazil captain and legend Giba has called time on his 20-year international career after the heart-breaking 3... More...