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History of the US Women’s Volleyball Team – A Strong Favorite to Win the Olympics 2012!
1955 In Mexico City, the U.S. national squad beats the Brazilian team 3-2 (15-7, 7-15, 13-15, 16-14 and 15-9) to win its first medal (silver) in the Inaugural Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Second Pan American Games (a performance it repeats in 1959 and 1963). This medal is the first medal of any kind for the States in volleyball in an international championship.
1956 The United States of America, birthplace of volleyball, participates for the first time in the Women’s World Championships at Paris, France, along with athletes from 16 other countries (Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, North Korea, Poland, Romania, USSR, West Germany, and the host nation).
1959 The American team finishes second in women’s volleyball at the III Pan American Games in Chicago, IL (in what may be the first women’s international volleyball tournament on U.S. soil), falling to Brazil in the finals 3-1 (15-7, 15-10, 9-15, 15-11).
1960 The national squad participates at the FIVB World Championships at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), coming in sixth among 10 countries.
1962 America declines to compete in the World Championships in the Russian capital of Moscow in October.
1963 The IV Pan American Games (which is held every four years since 1951) are held in Brazil and serve as an Olympian qualifier for women’s volleyball. On Brazilian soil, the U.S. squad wins its third Pan American silver medal after losing to Brazil (3-1:12-15, 15-12, 15-4, 15-11) in the finals.
1964 Volleyball is admitted as an Olympian sport for the first time in the 18th Olympiad in Japan and the U.S. is one of the competitors, after Brazil announced their decision to cancel its participation as winner of the Pan American Games in 1963 (a Pre-Olympic tournament for athletes from Latin America and North America).
1964 Twelve athletes are selected for the first U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball squad. They are: Linda Murphy, Jane Ward, Jean Gaertner, Lou Galloway, Verneda Thomas, Barbara Harweth, Patti Lucas-Bright, Gail O’ Rourke, Nancy Owen, Mary Jo Peppler, Mary Margaret Perry, and Sharon Peterson.
1964 The States becomes the first country from the Americas (from Alaska to Argentina) to compete in the First Olympic Tournament, finishing in fifth place, behind Japan, USSR, Poland, and Romania.
1967 After not competing in 1962, the U.S. squad is runner-up to Japan in the 5th World Championships at Tokyo.
1967 The underdog United States volleyball team makes international headlines when they win the international tournament at the Winnipeg Pan American Games ( the country’s first Pan American gold medal in women’s volleyball and first major international title) by defeating five opponents– Canada (3-0: 15-6,15-5, 15-2), Peru (3-0:15-12, 15-8, 15-6), Mexico (3-0:15-7,15-4, 15-5), Cuba (3-0:15-8,15-8,15-10) and the defending champion Brazil (3-0:15-8,15-10,15-12). The winner gets a berth in next year’s Olympics in the metropolis of Mexico City.
1968 The Unites States sends players to the United Mexican States to compete in the Games of the 19th Olympiad. The North American country qualified for the Olympiad in the Pan American Games a year earlier.
1969 The U.S. volleyball team takes the bronze in the Inaugural Norceca (North and Central American and Caribbean regional volleyball championship) Tournament in the Mexican capital.
1970 Under the leadership of Mary Jo Peppler, the national side competes in their second consecutive FIVB World Championship in the Balkan republic of Bulgaria, placing 11th. On Bulgarian soil, Miss Pepper — a member of the first U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball squad at Tokyo’64 and 1967 Pan American Games women’s volleyball gold medalist– makes history as she is regarded as one of the top players on the planet (the first American to do so).
1971 The USA team refuses to participate in the Second Norceca Championship on Cuba.
1971 Surprisingly, the USA squad fails to qualify for the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics by finishing sixth in the VI Pan American Games at Cali ( a city in southwest Colombia, South America), after their victory over Haiti 3-0 (15-7, 15-1, 15-7).
1973 In the regional championship in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, the U.S. beats hosts (defending champion) 3-2 (15-10, 3-15, 2-15, 16-14, 15-11) to win the bronze medal, clinching America’s first appearance in the World Cup.
1973 Young-up-and-coming player Flora “Flo” Jean Hyman makes her major debut at the World University Games in the USSR/Soviet Union. Without a doubt, she will be the most famous female player in U.S volleyball history.
1973 The United States is one of 12 countries to compete in the Inaugural World Cup competition in the South American republic of Uruguay, one of the most prestigious women’s volleyball tournaments alongside the FIVB World Championship, the Grand Prix, and the Summer Games.
1973 South Korean-born Park Moo, who later was coach of the 1976 Canadian Olympic side, works with a new U.S. team.
1974 The American team -made up of six notable athletes: Paula Ditner, Leslie Knudsen, Debra Landreta, Susan Woodstra, Roxane Elías & Debbie Green– finishes 12th at the FIVB World Championship at Guadalajara (Mexico).
1974-1975 15-year-old Debbie Green becomes the youngest player in U.S history.
1975 Los Angeles (CA) hosts the IV Norceca Tournament. After defeating Mexico (3-2) and Canada (3-0), the host country finishes second in the regional championship, winning the right to compete at the 1976 Pre-Olympic Tournament in Heidelberg, West Germany.
1975 The U.S. women’s volleyball team fails to qualify for the medal round in the Seventh Pan American Games, despite defeating Mexico (the host country) 3-2 (6-15, 7-15, 15-12, 16-14, 15-11) in the first round.
1975-1984 Arie Selinger is named Head Coach of the USA Women’s Squad. Mr. Selinger has been praised by sportswriters and experts for his work with giant players, becoming an international pioneer in the sport of volleyball.
1976 After two difficult games against Bulgaria and East Germany and three victories over Switzerland, Poland, and the host Germans, the American squad, under Selinger as a head coach, fails to qualify for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games by finishing in fourth place in the Pre-Olympic Tournament at Heidelberg (Federal Republic of Germany).
1976 The Peruvian side, led by its main athlete Mercedes “Meche” Gonzalez (who later played in the state of Arizona), makes a trip to U.S. to play friendly games against the American team of Arie Selinger.
1977 In the V Norceca World Cup Qualifying in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), the U.S side — spearheaded by the top-class volleyball player Flo Hyman — takes the silver medal after losing to arch-rival Cuba 3-1 (15-2, 15-13, 8-15, 15-13).
1977 The U.S. is invited to participate in the Second World Cup in Japan.
1977 At the FIVB Volleyball World Cup in Japan’s capital city of Tokyo, America defeats Soviet Union 3-1 for the first time in U.S. volleyball history. A year ago, the USSR picked up a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Sumer Games.
1978 Before grabbing fifth place in the Women’s World Championships on Soviet soil, America beats China 3-0 (15-13, 15-11, 15-10).
1978 Selinger’s team shocks the world with a convincing victory over Peru 3-0 in the Global Championships at Moscow, USSR. In the event, America makes history again when its athlete Flora Hyman becomes one of the world’s top female players (alongside Yuri Yokohama from Japan and Cuba’s Mercedes Perez). The last American female to win this honor was Mary Jo Peppler in the early 1970s. Miss Hyman has played more than 300 women’s volleyball matches since her official debut in 1973.
1979 The Peruvian team travels to the United States to play some matches.
1979 Despite being one of the favorites at the Pan American Games in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the States is not able to win a medal after losing to Brazil 3-2 (15-8, 7-15, 15-11,7-15 and 15-11) in the bronze-medal match.
1979 At the VI Norceca Cup on the island of Cuba, the USA squad places second, winning the right to represent Norceca in the 22nd Olympiad (a feat it repeats in 1987). An American team has not participated in the Olympian event since 1964.
1980 For the first time since 1967, the United States defeats Cuba 3-0.
1980 Due to the American boycott of the Summer Games in the USSR ( in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan), the U.S. women’s Olympic team, made up of the best American athletes available, loses a chance to become an Olympic champion at Moscow (the capital of Soviet Russia), after impressive victories over Cuba (world champion and winner of the Pan American Games in 1979) and the People’s Republic of China during the last 10 months.
1981 In a historic volleyball match, the national team wins the regional championship title over the world’s number one squad, Cuba, 3-1 at Mexico City (they had spent nearly 12 years losing in the Norceca tournaments), a feat it repeats in 1983.
1981: The U.S. women’s World Cup team makes more history: For the first time in American volleyball history, the nation defeats Japan (host -country) 3-2 (15-10, 11-15, 15-13, 12-15, 15-9 ) at the FIVB World Cup. This win would have been extremely hard to imagine in the 1960s and 1970s. On October 11, 1964 America lost, 3-0 (15-1, 15-5, 15-2) to Japan at the Summer Olympics.
1981 The women’s volleyball squad of Peru makes a visit to Colorado Springs (USA’s main Olympic center) and to other cities to play important matches against the American squad of Mr. Selinger.
1981 During the III World Cup on Japanese soil, the United States national team beats South Koreans by 3-0 15-8, 15-12, 15-6; its first-ever win over South Korea.
1981 In Japan, the star of the U.S. women’s volleyball team is the African-American Flo Hyman, one of the most charismatic players in the history of sport. A 9-year member of the U.S. women’s national team beginning 1973, she paves the way for future champions in the United States of America.
1982 The United States beats China by 3-1 in the first round before falling 3-0 to Peru in the semi-finals of World Championship in the Peruvian capital of Lima. Nonetheless, Selinger’s team continues to make volleyball history as the first North American squad to capture a world medal (bronze), following a win over Japan, who dominated women’s volleyball for a decade.
1982 For the first time in US volleyball history, Miss Rita Crockett and her fellow American Flo Hyman are named to the All-Tournament Team in Peru, beating out teammate Debbie Green, Mercedes “Mamita” Perez of Cuba and the Peruvian-born Raquel “Chunga” Chumpitaz for the award.
1983 Giant Rose Mary Magers (who stands 1,90m tall) makes her first appearance on the U.S. national team.
1983 South Korean-born American player Debbie Green (1,63m-tall) is replaced by the less-experienced Carolyn Becker (1,84m-tall) as an official setter. By the mid-1970s, Miss Green was the first Asian-American player to make the U.S. volleyball senior national team. Despite her short stature, she was one of the top setters in American volleyball history.
1983 The captain Flo Hyman and her fellow Americans are on a tour of Cuba to play seven matches (six wins and one losses), becoming one of the first American amateur teams to visit Castro’s island since the late 1950s. Seventy years ago, the United States had introduced the game of volleyball to the island of Cuba.
1983 The Soviet-trained Cuban athletes, led by their world-class players Mireya Luis Hernandez and Josefina Capote, make a travel to the United States to play eight matches (USA won all matches).
1983 The VIII Norceca Championship is held in Indianapolis (IN) with the home country beating Cuba 3-0 (15-4, 15-9, 15-13) in the finals. They, with its new young star Rose Magers, become the first U.S. team to win back-to-back Norceca titles.
1983 At the Varna Cup in Bulgaria (one of the most notable international events on Earth), America — the world’s top-ranked squad- places first, following wins over the People’s Republic of China (3-0) and the Soviet Union (3-0), respectively.
1983 In the most glorious international match in volleyball history, Cuba beats the U.S. 3-2 (17-15, 15-7, 11-15, 9-15, 15-10) for the IX Pan American Games gold medal in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas; the nation’s first Pan American medal in 16 years. A marathon game where the global star Flo Hyman is overshadowed by the 16-year-old Cuban volleyball prodigy Mireya Luis Hernandez (who stands 1,76m tall, but with a jump of 3,39 meters over the net), a key-player during the match. Days ago, the U.S. had defeated Cuba 3-1 (16-14, 16-14, 11-15, 16-14) in the first round; it was the first defeat for a Cuban women’s volleyball squad in the Pan American Games since 1971. The North American nation also had wins over five other squads: Canada (3-0), Venezuela (3-0), Brazil (3-1), Argentina (3-0), and Peru (3-0).
1983 Despite being defeated by Cuba at the IX Pan American Games in August, the USA team becomes the top ranked volleyball team in the world and big favorite to win the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Games.
1984 The U.S. squad is preparing for the 1984 Los Angeles Games! The team embarks on a worldwide tour to play several international games– Far East, Eastern Europe, and South America.
1984 As a host nation, the North American team competes in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.
1984 Arie Selinger leads the U.S. women’s squad to a silver medal at the 1984 L.A. Summer Olympics. The Los Angeles Games represented the culmination of Selinger’s 10-year project to remake the American side (first women’s volleyball squad in U.S. history to win an Olympian medal). In California, the United States is the only country to have both its squads (men and women) advance to the finals.
1984 California-born athlete Flo Hyman and nine teammates, among them Debbie Green, Rita Crockett, and Susan Woodstra, retire from international competition upon winning a silver at the Los Angeles Games. Miss Hyman was the most outstanding female player in U.S. volleyball history. In her outstanding career, she was nicknamed “the Black giraffe” for her tall (1,96m/6 ft 5 in) at a time when had not giant players in the world of volleyball. In those years, Hyman and her fellow Americans won a bronze in the global tournament by defeating long-time champion Japan in a historic volleyball match. Previously, they had earned a spot in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. By 1981, the national team was undefeated in five games at the Tokyo World Cup, beating Japan 3-2 for the first time. In the latter half of the 1980s and 1990s, Hyman was an inspiration to many world-class players such as Rose Magers, Gabriela “Gaby” Perez del Solar Cuculiza of Peru and Cuba’s Olympic champions Regla Torres and Magaly Carvajal.
1985 With an almost entirely different roster, the United States finishes last in the South Korea Cup (an unofficial championship) in Seoul, after losing its three games (Japan, Canada, and the Republic of Korea).
1985 The national team wins the Taurus Cup at Hungary, an international event with five teams (America, Japan, Italy, France, and the host Hungarians).
1985 The States, under a new national coach, fails to qualify for the 1985 World Cup (in Far East) for the first time by finishing second in the Continental tournament at Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic).
1985 The global star Rose Magers, who won her country’s first Olympian women’s volleyball gold medal at L.A in 1984, earns a spot on the World All-Star Team (alongside Ute Oldenburg of East Germany, Cecilia Tait of Peru, Japan’s Kumi Nakada, Heloisa Roese from Brazil, and other top players from the Soviet Union, Cuba, Italy and Asia), making her the first American female to earn that honor.
1986 The U.S. squad qualifies for their sixth straight FIVB World Championship (not World Cup) in the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia, placing 10th.
1986 Japanese-based player Flo Hyman, who was one of the U.S. women’s top players between 1973 and 1984, passes away in Tokyo. After the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she became one of the first American players to play outside of the United States and one of the first to sign a professional volleyball contract in Far East at a time when many players could not compete as professionals in the Olympics.
1986 The United States Olympic Committee sends volleyball players to the First Goodwill Games on Russian soil.
1987-2004 The Flo Hyman Memorial Award, named after the former Olympian player, is given annually by the Women’s Sports Foundation to the sportswoman who by her example has done much to stimulate Olympic ideals and women’s interest in sports. Among the winners are Martina Navratilova (tennis), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field), Nancy Lopez (golf), Lynette Woodard (basketball), Evelyn Ashford (athletics), Chris Evert (tennis), and Mary Lou Retton (gymnastics).
1987 Despite missing key players, the national team earns a Pan American bronze medal on home soil, behind Cuba and Peru and well ahead of Brazil (silver at the South American Cup) and Canada.
1987 In the 10th regional championship on Cuba’s capital, the North American nation is runner-up, clinching America’s fourth appearance in the Summer Olympics.
1989 At the Norceca World Cup Qualifying on Puerto Rico, the U.S women’s national volleyball team places third, losing a semi-final match to Canada.
1989 The first U.S. Under-17 team competes internationally in the FIVB Girls’ Youth Volleyball World Championship in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba.
1990 The underdog United States volleyball squad wins the bronze medal in the FIVB Women’s World Championships in the People’s Republic of China -the squad’s best World Tournament showing since the early 1980s– following a victory over the favorite, Cuba (led by its East German-trained coach Antonio Perdomo). It is one of the most extraordinary results in the history of the World Championship.
1991 At the 12nd Norceca Championship, the USA team places second, after losing to Cuba.
1991 Sportswoman Caren Marie Alexius Kemner leads the U.S women’s World Cup team to a fourth place finish in the Japan World Tournament by defeating Peru 3-2, earning a berth in the 1992 Summer Games in the Spaniard city of Barcelona.
1992 Caren Kemner becomes one of the world’s top female players at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, helping the U.S. volleyball team win a bronze medal (the nation’s first Olympian medal in eight years) by beating Brazil 3-0 (15-8, 15-6, 15-13).
1994: The North American players make a travel to Sao Paulo (Brazil) to compete in the Global Championship.
1995 100 years after being invented by W.G. Morgan in Holyoke (MA), volleyball is the second-largest participation sport on U.S. soil.
1995 America becomes one of the two best squads in the Western Hemisphere upon winning the silver medal at the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata (Argentina).
1995 The United States, led by its international star Tara Cross-Battle, defeats Brazil 3-2 (15-9, 15-10, 4-15, 5-15, 15-12) to capture the Third Volleyball World Grand Prix. This team becomes the first female team in U.S. history to win a major international championship. It is called the biggest upset ever in volleyball international.
1996 The Olympic Volleyball Tournament returns to the United States (Atlanta, GA) after a 12-year absence.
1999 In the regional championship, America’s team places second, qualifying for the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.
2000 Hawaii-born player Robyn Mokihana Ah Mow leads the U.S. squad to a fourth place finish in the Games of the 27th Olympiad in Sydney (New South Wales, Australia), after finishing seventh at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games.
2001 America defeats China to become winner of the Volleyball World Grand Prix played in Macau, a former Portuguese dependency in Far East.
2001 The U.S. women wins back the Norceca championship by defeating defending champion Cuba 3-1 in the first place match.
2002 U.S. player Tayyiba Haneef-Park (6ft 7 in) is one of the most outstanding athletes in the FIVB Women’s World Championships on German soil, helping the U.S. squad win a silver medal.
2003 The North American country captures the Norceca Tournament for the second time in a row, beating 3-0 Cuba in the final and repeating its feat from 1981,1983, and 2001.
2003 Chinese-born Lang “Jenny” Ping, a member of the gold-medal winning Olympic volleyball team in 1984, becomes the first female in U.S. volleyball history to be named head of coach of the women’s national team.
2003 The Pan American Cup in Saltillo (Mexico) is won by the American side of Toshi Yoshida, who debuted as an assistant coach of the national squad in the early 1980s.
2003 The American women are the surprise squad of the World Grand Prix, winning the third place (behind the People’s Republic of China and Russia).
2004 The U.S. squad qualifies for the Summer Games for the seventh consecutive time.
2004 For the second consecutive time, the U.S. wins the bronze medal at the Volleyball World Grand Prix.
2007 At the Norceca Championship at Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada), the North American country comes in second behind Cuba’s team (first).
2008 Lang Ping (one of the top female players in the latter half of the 20th century) leads the 2008 United States Olympic team, composed in great part of professionals, to a second place finish in the Beijing Summer Games (the highest Olympic finish) after losing to arch-rival Brazil 3-1 in the gold medal match. In the People’s Republic of China, the States and Brazil are the only countries to have both their teams (women & men) advance to the finals.
2009 Hugh McCutcheon is named head coach of the U.S. women’s national team (WNT), replacing Lang Ping. By 2008, he coached the U.S national men’s team to Olympic gold medal at Beijing.
2009 McCutcheon’s team finishes fourth in the VIII Pan American Tournament played in Miami, FL.
2010 At the First Young Summer Games at Singapore City, the U.S. Under-20 National Team places second behind Belgium (gold) and ahead of Peru (bronze).
2010 The United States team, led by its top-class player Foluke Akinradewo (who plays in Japan’s professional league) beats Brazil 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 28-30, 25-17, 13-15) to win its third World Grand Prix.
2011 Under the leadership of Nancy Metcalf, who plays professionally in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, the national team wins the Norceca Championship in Caguas (Puerto Rico) with victories over the Dominican Republic (3-0), Cuba (3-0), Mexico (3-0), Canada (3-0), and the island-nation of Trinidad Tobago (3-0).
2011 The United States U-20 squad celebrates their bronze medal in the Junior World Championships in Lima (Peru).
2011 New Zealand-born Hugh McCutcheon leads the U.S. women’s World Cup team (made up of 11 professional players) to a second place finish in the FIVB Tokyo World Cup, gaining a berth in the 2012 Summer Games in the United Kingdom.
2011 The Unites States Olympic Committee sends an unofficial female squad to the Pan American Games at Guadalajara (Mexico), winning a bronze medal.
2011 The national team, led by its Italian-based player Destinee Hooker, successfully defends its World Grand Prix title, becoming the first North American squad to win back-to-back championships and capturing the attention of many experts and sportswriters around the globe. They, on the other hand, have become the fourth American team to take home a world title.
2012 The American women’s volleyball squad is one of the favorites to capture the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Games in the British Isles, upon their international wins between 2010 and 2012. They are professional athletes abroad, especially in the oil-rich country of Azerbaijan.
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