Top two-ranked teams face off in opener
ATHENS, 13 August – Women's Volleyball
preliminary-round matches start Saturday.
In Pool B, Cuba, the reigning Olympic champion
and ranked 5th in the world, opens against
Germany at 09:00 as clear favorite with Germany
ranked 11th in the world.
At 11:00, Dominican Republic will try to stop
the traditionally strong Russians in Pool B. The
Central Americans, led by Annerys VARGAS VALDEZ
and Evelyn CARRERA PICHARDO, base its hopes on
the team's enthusiastic and fast style of play.
The Russians will try to take advantage of the
height and power of Ekaterina GAMOVA, Evgenia
ARTAMONOVA, Elizaveta TICHTCHENKO and Anastasia
Two-time Olympic champions Japan take on Brazil
at 14:00 in the first match of Pool A. Tomoko
YOSHIHARA, Yoshie TAKESHITA, Mijuki TAKAHASHI
are top players for Japan but Brazil, who are
coming off a World Grand Prix title win earlier
this month, are expected to begin their cruise
to the gold with an easy win. Erika COIMBRA,
Fernanda VENTURINI and Virna DIAS are the
leaders of this deep Brazilian squad.
Hosts Greece face Kenya at 16:00 in Pool A.
Neither team are favourites, but the winner of
the match will still have a chance to qualify
for the quarterfinals. The Greek team could be
inspired by the passionate Greek crowd.
Korea and Italy play at 19:30 in Pool A. The
quick style of Sa Nee KIM and Kwang Hee CHOI
comes face-to-face with Italian stars Francesca
PICCININI, Darina MIFKOVA, Elisa TOGUT and Paola
The World Cup champions China and the top-ranked
United States meet in the day's final match.
China, led by Kun FENG, Jing CHEN and Ruirui
ZHAO would like to repeat their 1984 gold medal
at the Los Angeles Games.
The U.S. team, led by Logan TOM, Prikeba PHIPPS
and Stacy SYKORA, have their own dream of
winning gold, which they last achieved at the
1992 Barcelona Games.
Great rivalry to continue at Athens Games
ATHENS, 13 August – Fans of Volleyball will be
hoping for a continuation of one of the great
battles of Olympic sport at the Women's
tournament at the Athens Olympic Games if Japan
and Russia come face-to-face.
While they have been drawn in different pools
for the first part of the tournament, there is
every chance they could meet in the latter
The two teams have dominated the Women's section
since their sport was introduced at the Tokyo
Olympics in 1964 and their duels have always
provided Volleyball fans mouth watering action.
Under the technical instructions of Hirofumi
DAIMATSU, who was nicknamed “The Tyrant” because
of his strict and tough training methods, hosts
Japan won all five matches including the
critical head-to-head with the USSR (3-0) and
celebrated the first Olympic Volleyball gold
Four years later, in Mexico City, the Soviets
did not miss the opportunity to take golden
revenge for their 1964 defeat.
The match between the two dominant teams of the
‘60s and ‘70s was a thriller, with plenty of
exciting rallies before the Soviets grabbed a
four-sets win (3-1).
The new competition format at the Olympic Games
of Munich 1972 was in the format of knockout
matches and a final.
It was little surprise that the USSR and Japan
were the two teams that met in the final.
Guided once again by Liudmila BULDAKOVA, Vera
GALUSHKA, Tatyana SARYCHEVA, Galina LEONTYEVA
and Roza SALIKHOVA, the Soviets beat Japan 3-1
to snatch the gold medal.
Montreal’s Olympic Tournament in 1976 was the
last occasion in which the two great rivals met
in the final.
The Soviet team could not resist Japan’s
dominance and the team from the 'Land of the
Rising Sun' reached the top of the podium after
an easy straight-sets win (3-0).
Japan's absolute supremacy was illustrated by
the fact they did not lose a single set in the
whole Olympic Tournament.
Now in Athens, fans of history will be hoping
the latest chapter of their rivalry continues on
Multi-continental challengers for Olympic
13 August - Cuba is the historical favourite,
but it could be time for a change at the top in
Olympic Volleyball after they failed to gain a
medal at this year's World Grand Prix.
The Peace and Friendship Stadium will host the
Olympic Games Volleyball tournament between
Saturday 14 and Sunday 29 August.
The women’s tournament features two groups of
six teams playing each other once, before the
top four teams advance to the quarterfinals.
Thereafter matches are played on a knockout
Pool A consists of the hosts, Greece, at their
Olympic Tournament debut, Sydney 2000 bronze
medallists and World Grand Prix holders Brazil,
the World Champions Italy, dual Olympic
Champions Japan, Asian qualifiers Korea and
Kenya representing Africa.
Pool B includes the World Cup holders China, the
World Championships runners-up the United
States, Sydney Olympic Games silver medallist
Russia, reigning Olympic Champions since 1992
and for three consecutive tournaments Cuba,
Germany in their eighth appearance in an Olympic
Games and Dominican Republic.
The defending Champions Cuba will have to try
hard in order to repeat the achievements of
1992, 1996 and 2000.
Most members of the team that dominated all
major Volleyball tournaments during the '90s
have now retired, but there are emerging players
such as Yaima ORTIZ CHARRO to add to the
experience of remaining stalwarts such as
Yumilka RUIZ LUACES and Zoila BARROS FERNANDEZ.
World number three Brazil appears to be the team
in the best shape.
Morale is high after they became World Grand
Prix gold medallists on 1 August 2004. Erika
COIMBRA, Fernanda VENTURINI and Walewska
OLIVEIRA will guide the Brazilian team as they
did at Sydney 2000.
Italy, currently ranked at number four in the
world, will try to reach the Olympic podium for
the first time.
Francesca PICCININI, Darina MIFKOVA, Elisa TOGUT
and libero Paola CARDULLO are the star women for
the reigning World Champions.
World number five Russia traditionally flirts
with the Olympic podium.
Under the technical instruction of Nikolay
KARPOL, the greatest figure in Russian women's
Volleyball, the "red team" aims as high as
Evgenia ARTAMONOVA, Ekaterina GAMOVA, Elizaveta
TICHTCHENKO, Anastasia BELIKOVA are leading an
efficient team that will fight for the best
The United States aims to step up to the Olympic
podium again, as they did for the last time in
1992 in another European city, Barcelona.
Logan TOM, Prikeba PHIPPS, Stacy SYKORA and
Heather BOWN helped the USA to number two in the
world and they are capable of bringing an
Olympic medal home from Athens.
China are currently number one in the world, yet
they haven't won an Olympic gold medal since Los
Kun FENG, Jing CHEN and Ruirui ZHAO will carry
the Chinese team at this tournament.
Asia is represented by two more teams; Japan, at
number seven in the world, led by Tomoko
YOSHIHARA, Yoshie TAKESHITA, Miiyuki TAKAHASHI,
will try to repeat the achievements of the ‘60s
and the ‘70s, while Korea, ranked eighth in the
world, will rest their hopes on the fast playing
style of Sa Nee KIM and Kwang Hee CHOI.
Germany, coached by Korean Hee WAN LEE, is
ranked 11th in the world.
Angelina GRUEN has the ability to lead the team
to victories over even the favourites.
The Dominican Republic is steadily progressing,
guided by Annerys VARGAS VALDEZ and Evelyn
CARRERA PICHARDO, they will try to get to the
Kenya, representing Africa, is number 23 in the
They hope to put in a good performance with the
talent of Violet BARASA, Leonidas KAMENDE and
Hosts Greece are the enigma of the tournament.
In their first appearance at an Olympic Games,
the Greek women, guided by sisters Maria and
Nikh GKARAGKOUNI will try, with the help of the
passionate Greek crowd, to surprise everyone and
confirm a spot in the quarterfinals.
Pic: The venue for Volleyball - the Peace and
Brazilian men and women aim for podium
ATHENS, 11 August – Brazil is aiming to put both
its women's and men's Volleyball teams on the
podium, said Erica COIMBRA after practising with
the Brazilian women's team for the first time at
the Peace and Friendship Stadium today.
"We are here for a medal," she said. "China, the
U.S., Russia and Cuba are also very powerful.
Brazil is ready and capable of having both men's
and women's teams on the podium."
Added head coach Jose GUIMARAES: "We will try to
be on the podium, to get a medal whatever colour
it will have. I hope to do that together with
the men’ s team."
The Brazilian women's team is coming off victory
at the 2004 World Grand Prix in Italy last month
after beating the hosts in the final, while the
men's team won the 2004 World League, also
beating Italy in the final.
China edges Greece
ATHENS, 11 August – The Chinese women’ s
Volleyball team beat Greece 2-1 (25-19, 21-25,
25-27) in a training match today at the Peace
and Friendship Stadium. The match was shortened
to conform with the training schedule.
Chinese head coach Zoughe CHEN predicted that
six teams would vie for medals in the Olympic
tournament: China, Russia, Brazil, Cuba, the
United States and Italy.
Greek libero Ioanna VLACHOU said Greece feels
ready for the Olympics after friendly matches
against China, Russia, Germany and the Dominican
"I strongly believe the Greek team can reach the
quarterfinals," said VLACHOU.
HART (GER): "Tough on road to quarterfinals"
ATHENS, 11 August – The German women's
Volleyball team held its first practice in the
Peace and Friendship Stadium today.
"Germany plays in a difficult and tough pool and
we have to face very strong teams," said German
setter Tanja HART. "Our goal is to qualify for
Greece beats Germany 3-1 in friendly match
ATHENS, 11 August – The women’s Greek team beat
Germany 3-1 (17-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22) in a
friendly match held on Tuesday at Ilion Indoor
Head coach Dimitrios FLOROS highlighted that the
team will be ready for the Olympic Games, as it
is constantly getting better. All 12 players of
Greece participated in the match.
Today, the Greek team will face China in a final
friendly match at the Peace and Friendship
Stadium, at 15:00.
Brilliant success for the Mexican heading up
the world’s leading sports federation in terms
of National Federations and licensed players
Athens, 10 August 2004 – The FIVB leadership,
which met recently at the organization’s
headquarters in Lausanne, took advantage of the
upcoming Olympic Games in Athens to take a close
look at the development of Volleyball and Beach
Pic: Dr. Rubén Acosta, FIVB President
FIVB President Dr. Rubén Acosta says Peace
and Friendship Stadium "perfect for spectators"
ATHENS, 10 August – FIVB President Dr Rubén
Acosta visited the Peace and Friendship Stadium
on Tuesday, 10 August and later gave his
thoughts on the venue for the Volleyball
competition at the 2004 Olympic Games.
On the readiness of the venue:
"Everything is 99 per cent ready. We are here to
check the other one per cent. It is necessary to
change the lighting because once you have no
shadows on the court, you have the best
television coverage. But of course this small
problem is very easy to solve."
On how spectator friendly the venue is:
"The arena is so perfect for the spectators.
They will enjoy the tournament, they will have a
great time. It will be a great promotion for the
sport in Greece. I really think that if the
Greek team qualifies for the final the stadium
will be full."
On how the venue will affect the Greek
"This will surely be a blast for Greek
Volleyball. I am sure that the Greek players
will show everybody they are fighters when they
On the legacy for Greek Volleyball:
"It is a great opportunity for the national
federation to ask for World League finals after
New uniforms for Greece
ATHENS, August 10 – The women’s Greek team will
appear with a new look at the Athens Olympic
Games, for the first time wearing a white and
The Cuban team were the pioneers in using that
kind of uniform when in the late 90’s they tried
out a uniform that looked like swimming suit.
The president of FIVB, Dr Ruben ACOSTA HERNANDEZ
was in favour of the idea and suggested all the
teams should adopt this new uniform.
"It is something new for the Greek audience to
see us with this kind of uniform. The bodysuit
looks good and I am sure that people will come
to see us in them," said Ruxadra Codruta
Her teammate Eleftheria CHATZINIKOU said she
liked the new uniform.
"We have never worn something like that.
Sometimes we talked with the girls and agreed
that we would like to wear bodysuits in the
games," CHATZINIKOU said.
"Until now, only Cuba wore outfits like
swimsuits and we were afraid to wear it, because
the Cubans have great bodies. But now, I think
that this uniform looks nice on us, it is very
comfortable and very sexy!”
Sofia IORDANIDOU agrees: “It is a very feminine
uniform and very comfortable. I believe that
bodysuits are ideal for volleyball and I hope
that this appearance brings people to the
FIVB President predicts best ever Olympic tournaments
August 8th 2004 - FIVB President Dr. Ruben
Acosta today in Athens predicted the best ever
Volleyball and Beach Volleyball Olympic
tournaments and congratulated the Athens
Organising Committee for the excellent
facilities and preparations. These will be the
eleventh Olympic Volleyball and third Beach
Medal Awards at Sydney 2000
Italy wins friendly against Cuba
ATHENS, August 8 – The Italian women’s
Volleyball team has beaten Cuba 3-1 (25-14,
16-25, 25-19, 25-19) in a pre-Olympic friendly
match in Verona, Italy on Saturday 7 August.
Women's head coach Marco BONITA (ITA) had the
opportunity to test all 14 players ahead of the
announcement of the final 12 on Monday.
Manuela SECOLO (ITA) is likely to replace Darina
MIFCOVA who has a knee injury. BONITA will have
a tough decision to make between middle blockers
Paola PAGGI and Sara ANZANELLO.
Men’s head coach Gian Paolo MONTALI (ITA) has
already announced the 12 players who will
compete in the Olympic tournament. MONTALI
selected Venceslav SIMEONOV instead of Francesco
BIRIBANTI for the position of second universal.
The team includes: Paolo TOFOLI, Valerio
VERMIGLIO (setters), Andrea SARTORETTI,
Venceslav SIMEONOV (universals), Matej CERNIC,
Alberto CISOLLA, Andrea GIANI, Samuele PAPI (wing
spikers), Paolo COZZI, Alessandro FEI, Luigi
MASTRANGELO (middle blockers) and Damiano PIPPI
Italy will return to Varese, Italy on Monday to
continue training, with Luca TENCATI and Pietro
RINALDI in the composition. They will fly to
Athens on Wednesday.
beats Dominican Republic in friendly match
ATHENS, August 8 – The Greek women's
team beat Dominican Republic today 3-1
(25-16,22-25,25-15,25-17) in a friendly
preparation match at the Peace and Friendship
Stadium, then called on Greek fans to support
them during the Games.
Interview with Nikolay KARPOL, Russian
national head coach
ATHENS, 2 August – Russia’s national head coach
Nikolay KARPOL is the ultimate figure in the
history of his country’s women's Volleyball.
Known for his strict style and sometimes his
yelling, the twice Olympic gold medallist (1980,
1988) and two-times silver medallist (1992,
2000) expresses believes the Athens Volleyball
Tournament will be “extremely competitive and
He was interviewed today.
On the Athens Olympic Games: “In my opinion, the
Athens Olympic Games will be the best ever.
There is a great improvement compared to the
last time I was here and everything will be
perfect for the Games."
On the return of the Olympic Games to their
homeland: “It’s a great moment. Greeks are going
to fill all stadiums, most importantly those who
live away from their birthplace and not only
those who live within the borders of Greece."
On Russia’s goal at the Athens Olympic Games:
“Our goal is to earn a medal."
On Russia’s main opponents: “It’s not only one.
Regarding our pool, the most dangerous opponents
are China, USA and Cuba and as far as the second
pool we have to pay most of our attention to
Brazil and Italy. Each of these teams has an
equal chance of getting a medal."
On whether reigning champions Cuba are in the
position to defend their title: “Cuba is not as
strong as they used to be: they are in good
shape and level, but not as would be expected."
On the Greek team: “I think that Greece have the
ability to qualify for the quarter finals.
Nevertheless, it could be difficult for them,
but also a great success if they manage to
qualify to the top eight teams."
Russia beats Greece for second time
ATHENS, 1 August – Russia beat the Greek women's
Volleyball team 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-12) Sunday
in the last of three tune-up matches at the
Peace and Friendship Stadium.
Russia beat Greece in Friday's match, with the
Greeks scoring an historical first victory
against Russia on Saturday.
"We improved our way of play and the only
problem that we have to solve is the individual
mistakes in critical points," said Greek captain
Maria GKARAGKOUNI. "With a lot of faith, and the
Greeks on our side, we will have a positive
appearance at the Olympic games."
Greece will train at the Peace and Friendship
Stadium until 9 August, with friendly matches
scheduled with China, Germany and Dominican
The Greek team will check into the Olympic
Village on Monday.
Historical win over Russia
1 August – The Greek women's Volleyball team
beat Russia for the first time Sunday in a
tune-up match at the Peace and Friendship
Stadium. The Greek team edged the Russians 3-2
(25-16, 25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 15-11).
"This result helps the psychology of the players,
as only 13 days remain before the first official
match," said Greek coach Dimitris FLOROS.
The Greeks led the match 2-0, but the Russians
battled back to even the score at 2-2. The
Greeks claimed victory by winning the fifth set
15-11.Greece plays Russia again today at 16.00h.
of Lots completed Athens, Greece, June
7, 2004 – The Drawing of Lots
ceremony for the women's competitions
was held at the ATHOC headquarters.