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With only one participation until 1996 in an Olympic tournament, that of 1980 in Moscow, where they finished sixth, the former Yugoslavia did not have any great success to boast of in international Volleyball until the mid-1990s, despite their presence at international events since 1951. They were also among the (14) founding members of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

The ‘Plavi’ explosion took place in 1995, when they seized the bronze medal in the European Championships held in Athens – a distinction that foretold their third place the following year at the Atlanta Olympic Games. Since then, Serbia and Montenegro has been adding at least one medal to their collection every year: bronze in 1997 at the European Championships; silver in 1998 at the World Championships; bronze again in 1999 at the European Championships; before gold in 2000 at the Sydney Olympic tournament; another
European Championship gold medal in 2001; bronze in the 2002 World League; a silver medal in the 2003 World League and a bronze in the World Cup.

This torrent of distinctions is in addition to the two bronze medals at the European Championships in 1975 and 1979,but more importantly it is expected to provide a boost to the “Blue team” defense of their Olympic title – which will be led by the great setter Nikola Grbic, his brother, back player Vladimir Grbic, universal player Ivan Miljkovic, back player Goran Vujevic and centres Andrija Geric and Dula Mester, coached by Ljubomir Travica.

Serbia and Montenegro are one of the most powerful sides in the men’s game at the moment. Their runner’s up performance in the 2003 World League final was of epic proportions as they pushed Brazil to five sets. This year’s World League saw them bow out of the competition in the semifinals but they still showed they have what it takes to be in medal contention.

Strong, tall and powerful they are awesome to watch and having stepped on to the top podium in 2000, don’t be surprised to see a repeat performance in Athens.