The Soviet Union became an FIVB
member in 1948 and started to participate in
international competitions from the following year
to establish themselves as one of the most
successful Volleyball nations ever.
The team was victorious in the very first World
Championship in Czechoslovakia in 1949 and claimed
another five world titles in the following decades:
1952 in the Soviet Union, 1960 in Brazil, 1962 again
in the Soviet Union, 1978 in Italy and 1982 in
Argentina. Besides that, they placed second three
times, including at the last World Championship in
Argentina where they suffered a final match loss to
Brazil in what turned out to be a rerun of the final
contested 20 years before.
The team also retains a fantastic record at the
Olympic Games, triumphing three times – in Tokyo
(1964), Mexico City (1968) and Moscow (1980). They
also finished second on three occasions.
Other numerous honours attained by the Russians
include 12 European Championship titles and five
World Cup triumphs. They have also been attacking
the podium of the World League since its inception,
claiming both the silver and the bronze three times
before grabbing gold in Brazil in 2002, depriving
the host country of the title in a dramatic final.
It was a well-deserved title for the Russians, who,
led by Pavel Abramov, Alexei Koulechov and Vadim
Khamouttskikh at the top of individual standings,
proved too powerful for the rest of the elite teams.
The Russian ‘Bear’ arrives in Athens as holders of
the silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games and there
is much expected of the 2004 Russian team at the
2004 edition, yet a lack of good form on the
international stage could be detrimental to their