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Olympic Tributes – The US Men’s Volleyball Squad

Olympic Tributes – The US Men’s Volleyball Squad

Los Angeles 1984- David beat Goliath!

In spite of the Soviet-led boycott, the 1984 Olympic Volleyball Tournament was a successful-the USSR, Bulgaria, Poland and Cuba (the originally qualified teams) were replaced by South Korea, Tunisia, Italy and the People’s Republic of China. The USSR had one of the world’s best volleyball teams in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Soviet men’s volleyball team won the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 1981 World Cup. On October 15, 1982, in Buenos Aires, the USSR demolished Brazil (15-3, 15-4,15-5) for the men’s World Championships.

The United States caused an upset by beating Brazil 3-0 in the final of the Volleyball Tournament for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. It was a momentous win for the American people-who invented the volleyball in 1895.

America -a dark horse of the championship- had won the opening match from Argentina 3-1 (15-6, 15-7, 10-15, 15-8). The South American team had worked since 1977 under the tutelage of Young Wang Sohn, who had been one of the best coaches in Korea. In the early 80s, the Argentine men’s volleyball team toured widely in Tokyo, Nagoya, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Bremen, Leipzing, Paris, Sofia, Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest, Rome, Milan, Praha, and Rio de Janeiro. In 1982, the Latin American team finished third in the World Championships. In 1983, Argentina had also won the bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela. In this tournament, Argentina beat the United States for bronze medal. The next day, America down Tunisia 3-0 (15-3, 15-2,15-3). In a subsequent match, the U.S. team defeated team South Korea-bronze medal at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi (India). The score was 15-13, 15-9, 15-6.

On August 6, 1984, the men’s team from the United States suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Brazilians-who had won the Pan American title and the South American Championships. In the second round, Canada lost to the United States. In the final match, the U.S. team showed all their cards. On August 11, America, under the brilliant play of Charles Frederick “Karch” Kiraly, demolished Brazil 15-6, 15-6, 15-7. David defeated Goliath! For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the American team won the volleyball championship. Its progress in the volleyball was spectacular. They finished 13rd place at the FIVB World Championships in 1982, behind the USSR, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Bulgaria, Poland, China, South Korea, Czechoslovakia (now Slovak Republic), Cuba, Canada and East Germany…

Seoul 1988- USA vs USSR

From 1985 to 1988, the U.S. men’s volleyball squad won almost all the major international titles. It won the 1985 FIVB World Cup and the 1987 Pan American Games. In 1986, this squad also earned the World Championships in Paris, France. In the final, they beat the Soviet Union -which had boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics- 3-1 (12-15, 15-11, 15-8,15-12). On October 2, 1988, the United States made Olympic history by defeating the USSR (currently Russia) 13-15, 15-10, 15-4, 15-8 in the final match of the Olympic Games in Seoul, the capital city of the Republic of Korea. America successfully defended its Olympic title. The most valuable player was Charles Frederick “Karch” Kiraly-the best known face of American volleyball.

Beijing 2008-The confirmation of world-class status

The U.S. Olympic Committee scored a major triumph at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics , when the American volleyball squad earned the Olympic gold medal. The U.S. men’s volleyball team, in their third Olympic final, upset team Brazil -2004 Olympic champion and 2007 World champion- in four matches to take the Olympic title. William Reid Priddy, a volleyball player from Virginia, said, “My first emotion is shock. This is extremely emotional for so many reasons. We’ve all invested our lives in this sport, and to hear our anthem played, that’s something you think about when you’re 12 years old”.

Hugh McCutcheon, the man who coached the United States to victory in the 2008 Olympic Games, was born and grew up in New Zealand. Until 2007, he was an unknown coach. During his childhood, he enjoyed volleyball at school and later qualified as a member of the New Zealand junior national team. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on volleyball.

The Olympic champions are: Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, California), Lloy James Ball (Fort Wayne, Indiana), Gabriel “Gabe” Gardner (San Diego, California), Sean Michael Rooney (Wheaton, Illinois), Clayton “Clay” Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii), David Cameroon Lee (Alpine, California), Riley Salmon (Amarillo, Texas), Thomas John Hoff (Chicago, Illinois), Scott Touzinsky (St.Louis, Illinois), William Reid Priddy (Richmond, Virginia), Ryan Madsen Millar (San Dimas, California), Richard “Rich” Lambourne (Louisville, Kentucky).

The United States is the only country to win Olympic titles in two different centuries: Los Angeles (1984/ 20th century), South Korea (1988/ 20th century) and Beijing (2008/ 21st century)…