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link to: Official 2002 World Championship website
Women's World Championship 2002 - Germany

The importance of top-level international competition for women was recognized very early in the history of the FIVB, resulting in the first-ever women’s World Championship in 1952, just five years after he founding of the sport’s international governing body. In that year the
Championship was both hosted and won by the (then) Soviet Union.

This year the Championship goes to Germany where six cities host the event, and as such, it will be its first appearance in Western Europe since 1956. The 2002 Championship therefore is an important milestone in the history of Volleyball, which continues to grow throughout Europe and, indeed, the world. But who will be the 2002 World Champion? Cuba has won the last two events, but with a number of heir superb generation of athletes now retired, they are nurturing new talent that may not be ready or experienced enough to make it a hat trick. Meanwhile, China is also very strong and comes to the Championship with a silver medal from the 1998 Championship in Japan and a fine performance in the 2002 World Grand Prix, as did Russia who have taken bronze in the last two editions and will be wanting to improve the color of their medals and their position on the podium.



It was in 1952 when FIVB hosted the first women's Volleyball World Championship in Moscow with just eight teams competing - seven from Europe plus India. In this, the first of an event that went on to be held over a four-year cycle, the title went to the Soviet Union, with Poland second and Czechoslovakia (now after the peaceful split with Slovakia, the Czech Republic), taking the bronze medal.

 Four years later the World Championship were staged in Paris, the home of FIVB founder and long-time President, Paul Libaud. Again the Soviet Union took the gold medal, an achievement they repeated four years later in Rio de Janeiro. But by that stage, a powerful Japanese team had emerged to steal the limelight. Japan won the silver medal at Rio, but went on to twice win the title in 1962 (Moscow) and at home in Tokyo in 1967, where the USA first stepped into the limelight to take the silver medal.

The Soviets reemerged four years later at Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Varna to defeat Japan in the final and reclaim the title, but Japan returned the favor in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1974.

The Championship then went to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1978 when Cuba and Japan shut the Soviets out of the title, taking gold and silver respectively and leaving them only the bronze medal.

But in 1982, in Lima, Peru, a new era was launched when China won the title for the first time, then went on to retain their title in 1986 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, only to lose it again to the Soviets in Beijing four years later. That was the last year that the Soviet Union competed as a nation.

The last two World Championship titles have gone to Cuba – in 1994 São Paulo, Brazil and Tokyo, Japan in 1998.

This year the championship returns to Western Europe for the first time since 1956, when Germany plays hosts to this premiere sporting event.