Russia compete in 2008 looking to go one better than they did in the major tournaments of 2007 and to improve on the bronze medal they won at the 2004 Athens Games.
Every tournament had a silver lining for the Russians last year as they finished second in the FIVB World Cup, FIVB World League and the European Championship.
It was a much-welcomed improvement on 2006, when they finished third in the World League in their hometown of Moscow but a disappointing seventh at the FIVB World Championship in Japan.
Led by the brilliance of wing-spiker Pavel Abramov, best attacker at the 2002 World League, Libero Alexey Verbov, Best Libero at the 2006 World League, Vadim Khamuttskikh and Semen Poltavskiy, and with a supremely successful past behind them, they should be in a confident mood.
The USSR Volleyball Federation joined the FIVB in 1948 and in 1949 participated in the inaugural FIVB Men's World Volleyball Championships.
They then put together a pretty successful run. The USSR Men's team gained worldwide recognition by winning three Olympic titles (1964, 1968 and 1980), six World Championships (1949, 1952, 1960, 1962, 1978, 1982), four World Cup golds (1965, 1977, 1981, 1991) and were European Champions 12 times.
In 1993, after the USSR Men's National Team became the Russian Men's National Team, they finished second in the World League Finals.
It was business as usual, then, for the Russians.
In 1996 and 1997 the team finished third in the World League Finals and in 1998 they placed second.
Russia reclaimed the World Cup in 1999 and they took second in the European Championship. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney the Russians captured the silver medal and did the same in the World League Finals.
During the European Championships of 2001 the team took the bronze medal and another third place in the World League Finals. The following year was highlighted by winning the World League and placing second in the World Championship.
In 2003 the team placed third in the European Championship and went one better in the 2005 edition.
Over the years, individual Russian players have been honored with many awards. Players such as Zaitsev, Savin, Antonov, Shkurichin, Fomin, Olikhver, Kuznetsov played on World All Star Teams in FIVB Gala matches and were recognized as the best in many official FIVB competitions.
Russian Head Coach Vladimir Alekno started his Volleyball career in 1984 in the SKA Minsk Volleyball team. He also played for CSKA in the then, Bulgaria's Levski, Italy's Asti and Spoletto and France's Cannes and Tours.
Alekno, born December 4, 1966, and who is married with two children, worked as Head Coach for Tours in France from 1999-2004. In 2003, he became a cup winner in France and then league champion in 2004 before leading his team to bronze in the European Champions League.
In 2005, he became Head Coach of Dinamo Moscow. They were champions and cup winners in Russia in 2006.
Since March 1, 2007, Alekno has been Head Coach of the Russian Men's National Team, leading them to three silver medals in 2007 in the FIVB World League, European Championship and FIVB World Cup.