1952: Soviet Union win double gold in Moscow
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 16, 2014 - The two FIVB Volleyball World Championships are the highlights of the year. In the run-up to the title showdowns for the men in Poland (August 30 to September 21) and for the women in Italy (September 23 to October 12), we take a look at the stories to emerge from previous competitions. In the second part of the series, we travel back in time to the World Championships in 1952, when the first women’s champions were crowned.
The Soviet Union won the inaugural edition of the Women's World Championships|
Three years after the successful premiere in Prague, Moscow hosted the second ever FIVB Volleyball World Championships from August 17-29, 1952. And changes were afoot: a women’s world champion was determined for the first time. Furthermore, the showdown was no longer an all-European affair, as teams from the Far and Middle East joined the party in the form of India (men and ladies), Israel (men) and Lebanon (men).
Above all, however, the days in Moscow were an outstanding international advertisement for the sport of volleyball. Over 250,000 spectators flocked to the matches, which, like the 1949 FIVB World Championships, were held outdoors. The final matches in Moscow’s Dynamo Stadium alone attracted 50,000 enthusiastic volleyball fans. And the fans of the home team had particular reason to celebrate: both titles went to the hosts from the Soviet Union, and without dropping a single set.
The men’s team, the nucleus of which was made up of the squad that won gold in 1949, defended its title in style. Stars like Sergey Nefedov, Mikhail Pimenov, Konstantin Reva, Vladimir Shagin and Alexey Yakushev ended the championship with eight victories, winning 24 sets and losing none. In a repeat of the final three years earlier, their arch-rivals from Czechoslovakia were swept aside 3:0 in the final on August 29, 1952. Bronze went to Bulgaria, resulting in an identical podium to that at the very first FIVB World Championship.
In total, eleven teams took part in the second men’s tournament. The historic first win for a non-European team came courtesy of Israel, who defeated Lebanon 3:0 in the preliminary round. The Eastern European teams’ dominance was clear for all to see again: Romania and Hungary finished fourth and fifth, with sixth-placed France the first team from Western Europe. The French, however, lost all five matches in the final round. The best non-European team was India in eighth, followed in ninth and tenth by Lebanon and Israel.
Eight teams lined up in the first championship for women and the premiere also featured a non-European team in India. The team from the subcontinent, however, was unable to win a single set in its seven matches. The competition was played in a round robin format. As in the men’s tournament, the Soviet Union were the hot favourites - after all, the team had won the inaugural European Championship the previous year. However, it was a lot closer than many had predicted, with the winner only confirmed after the final match against rivals Poland on August 29.
By the time they reached the final, both teams had won their matches against the eventual bronze medallists from Czechoslovakia, as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, France and India. In the final match to determine the first Women’s World Champions, victory was never in doubt for the Soviet team, which included the legendary Aleksandra Chudina. The Soviet Union triumphed 3:0 against the Poles. This result meant that the Soviet ladies also came through their seven matches without the loss of a single set to crown the volleyball spectacle with double gold for the hosts.
Read more about previous editions of the FIVB Volleyball World Championships by clicking on the links below.
1966 and 1967: Soviet Union empty-handed for the first time
1962: Japan’s ladies produced “volleyball from another planet” to end the dominance of the hosts, the Soviet Union
1960: Volleyball fever in Brazil, both World Championship titles go to the Soviet Union again
1956: Czechoslovakia claim trophy in Paris
1949: Soviet Union win inaugural World Championships
Other FIVB news
- Kenya stand as sole debutant winner on World Grand Prix opener
- Africa Queens land in Mexico for FIVB World Grand Prix
- Mexico to stage first weekend of FIVB World Grand Prix Pool Q matches
- World Grand Prix statistical preview: Brazil eye back-to-back titles
- 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix Media Guide online
- Peru intensify workouts ahead of World Grand Prix
- Kazakhstan bring in experience for World Grand Prix opening weekend in Almaty
- Argentina prepare for first weekend of World Grand Prix
- Five teams make their debuts as record-breaking FIVB World Grand Prix gets underway
- Montenegro win first round of European League finals
- World Grand Prix: Bigger and better than ever
- 1986: USA bring a halt to East European dominance
- China and Japan to meet in 17th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship final
- World League's top four USA, Brazil, Italy and Iran contribute to Dream Team
- Chinese Taipei to play India for 5th place at the 17th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship
- “Best ever”: USA and the sport of volleyball are winners as the FIVB World League celebrates its 25th anniversary
- Italian Prime Minister attends FIVB World League Finals in Florence
- World Championship brings out the fan in Professor Fermeglia
- 17th Asian Women's U19 Volleyball Championship prepares for semifinals
- Andrea Zorzi: Speed is at the heart of modern volleyball
- World League performances reshuffle world ranking
- Algeria to host Women's U18 and U23 African Nations Championships
- Qualification system for 2015 European Games confirmed
- Social Timeline: World League Finals leads to USA gold
- Women’s Club World Championship agreement with Eventcourt confirmed until 2019
- Mexico win final ticket to Italy
- Puerto Rico complete the teams qualified to Poland
- Japan overcome Italy 3-1 in fourth World Grand Prix warm-up
- Team USA Sweeps Cuba to Win NORCECA U19 Gold
- Talking Stats: USA join World League’s multiple gold medal club; Italy win back-to-back bronze
- USA upset Brazil to claim second World League title
- Stats Preview: Brazil, USA set for first-ever meeting in World League final; Italy eye fourth bronze medal
- Talking Stats: USA reach third World League final; Brazil get chance to add more silverware
- Brazil and USA book World League final date
- Volleyball is thrilling a nation, say Italian papers
- Two sets are enough for Turkey to win first European League title
- Stats preview: Iran take first ever meeting with USA; Brazil aim to continue semifinal winning streak
- Top eight confirmed for the 17th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship
- Talking Stats: Iran guarantee top four finish for the first time; Italy keep clean win-record
- Italian Prime Minister joins President Graca at World League Finals
- Italy v Brazil, USA v Iran in World League Semifinals
- We can be champions, says Amir Ghafour
- FIVB Volleyball World League 2015 formula confirmed
- Iran stand a good chance of qualifying, says Andrea Zorzi
- Talking stats: Iran and Australia in critical, must-win matches to make World League semifinals cut
- Neslihan Demir: Leader, iron lady, flag carrier and mother
- Talking Stats: Brazil end losing streak against Russia; USA recover to record win in World League finals
- Brazil and Italy book semifinal spots on World League Finals Day Two
- We are carrying Brazil's hopes after football failure, says Lucarelli
- Dalhausser and Rosenthal on the hunt for a ‘turkey’ in The Hague