Women Olympic Games 2004
Press & News
Day 1
14 August
 
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Three-time champions Cuba upset on opening day
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 – World number 10 Germany caused the first big upset of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games women’s Volleyball competition when they came from two sets down to beat three-time gold medalists Cuba 3-2 (20-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 17-15) at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on the opening day on Saturday.
Cuba, who are ranked five in the world, have the won the gold medal at the last three Olympic Games but in Athens they have a young team looking to emulate the feats of their predecessors.
After claiming the first two sets, the Central Americans saw Germany, who have finished sixth and eighth at the last two Olympic Games, climb on the back of some excellent crowd support to claw their way back into the match before sealing the five-set thriller in the tiebreaker. Pic: Tanja Hart is ecstatic with Germany's win
"We underestimated Germany's potential,” Cuba coach Luis Felipe Calderon said. “We started the game very well, but then we were confused with how Germany played. I think it is very important to maintain rhythm, but we lost ours and Germany won."
"We were an outsider,” German coach Hee Wan Lee said. “But we managed to have a great match and we are very satisfied. We are well prepared for the Olympics and we came here to show the world that we deserve to be here."
In the final match on the first day China beat world number one USA in a thrilling four set match, despite losing their key 1.97cm player Ruirui Zhao when she aggravated a calf injury, which she originally suffered earlier in the year. The 22-year-old Zhao was making her comeback at this tournament but limped off the court after only two points. However, that didn’t disrupt China’s game and the world number three claimed a gritty 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18.
Other results on the first day saw Russia beat the Dominican Republic in straight sets 25-17, 25-13, 25-16, Brazil beat Japan 25-21, 25-22, 25-21, world champions Italy dismiss Korea 25-17, 25-13, 25-19 while hosts Greece opened their campaign with a 25-7 25-22 25-14 win over Kenya.
The women’s competition continues on Monday but Sunday sees the beginning of the men’s competition with Serbia and Montenegro starting the day against Poland at 9:00. The other men’s matches see the Netherlands play Russia, Argentina play France, Brazil take on Australia and hosts Greece entertain Tunisia before Italy play USA.
 
China overcome Zhao injury to beat USA
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 – In the final match on the first day of the women's competition China beat USA in a thrilling four set match, despite losing their key 1.97cm player Zhao when she aggravated a calf injury, which she originally suffered earlier in the year. More Statistics Quotes Photos Pic: Lina Wang in full flight going on to score 12 points

 
Italy proves quality over Korea
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 – An unstoppable Italian team celebrated its first victory in Pool A of the Athens Olympic Volleyball tournament, beating Korea in straight sets (3-0: 25-17, 25-13, 25-19) at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. More Statistics Quotes Photos Pic: Jenny Barazza, who scored eight points in the match, was one of Italy's best on attack
 

 
Greece makes successful Olympic debut
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 – Greece made its Olympic debut with an easy straight-sets victory 25-7, 25-22, 25-14 over Pool A opponent Kenya at the Peace and Friendship stadium. More Statistics Quotes  Photos Pic: Great local support for Greece
 
 
Brazil defeats Japan in opener
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 – Brazil continued their excellent form from the 2004 World Grand Prix where they claimed their fourth title earlier this month with a straight sets 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 defeat of Japan at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in their Pool A match. More Statistics Quotes Photos Pic: Brazil celebrate their opening victory
 
Russia shows supremacy with straight-sets victory
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 – Russia sail to an easy 3-0 straight-sets victory (25-17, 25-13, 25-16) over Dominician Republic in Pool A at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. More Statistics Quotes Photos Pic: Milagros Cabral Dela Cruz tries to beat the Russian block of Marina Sheshenina (12), Ekaterina Gamova (11) and Lioubov Shashkova (5).
 
Germany upsets defending champions in thriller
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 – The opening match of the Athens Volleyball Olympic tournament offered excitement and thrilling emotions as Germany beat reigning Olympic champions Cuba 3-2 (20-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 17-15) at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. More Statistics Quotes Photos Pic: Daimi Ramirez Echevarria of Cuba spikes as Germany's Atika Bouagaa (right) and Olessya Kulakova defend