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Questions asked and questions answered as curtain falls on Rio 2016

 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 22, 2016 - Just two short weeks ago, on the opening day of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, we posed questions awaiting answers ahead of the volleyball action. With the Games of the XXXI Olympiad now wrapped up, these questions have finally found their answers.

Can Brazil's women match the record of Cuba with a third straight gold medal?

No. Brazil crashed out of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games early, devastating the nation after going down to China in the quarterfinals. It meant the two-time gold medallists, who had totally dominated pool play with an absolute perfect record, weren't around for the medals round.

Cuba had dominated the world volleyball scene in the 1990s, collecting straight Olympic gold medals in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. They remain the only country to have ever won three gold in a row.

Only Russia (including the USSR) have won more gold medals than Cuba for a total of 4 -but never three in a row.


Cuba's Taimaris Auguero and Regla Torres block Germany's Sylvia Roll in Sydney 2000. The Caribbean side remains the only one wit three gold in a row.

Can Sergey Tetyukhin win an unprecedented fifth Olympic medal?
No - but came ever so close when Russia led USA by two sets to none in the bronze medal game of Rio 2016, only for the Americans to come back and snatch the medal out of the Russians' hands.

Tetyukhin made his Olympic debut in Atlanta 1996 (finishing 4th with Russia) and has competed in all Games since, picking up a silver in Sydney 2000, a couple of bronze in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and capping it all with a gold at London 2012. No volleyball player, male or female, has gone to a fifth medal.

Apart from Tetyukhin, only another three have won four: Cuba's Ana Fernandez (gold in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, and bronze in Athens 2004); Italy's Samuele Papi (silver in Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 and bronze in Sydney 2000 and London 2012); and the USSR's Inna Ryskal (gold in Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972, and silver in Tokyo 1964 and Montreal 1976).

However, the 40-year-old captain of the defending Olympic Champions beacame a six-time Olympian on 7 August when Russia took to the court at the Maracanazinho against Cuba for their first Rio 2016 match. This matched the record held by another Russian - Yevgeniya Artamonova.


Sergey Tetyukhin in Russia's opening match against Cuba, where he became a six-time Olympian.

Can the reigning women's world champions also claim the Olympic crown in the same cycle?
No. USA, who had beaten China in the final of the 2014 FIVB World Championship in Milan, fell to Serbia in the semifinals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and missed out on a shot at gold.

Achieving the 'double' has only been done six times - and not in the last 16 years. Cuba (in 1998 / 2000 and in 1994 / 1996) and Japan (1974 / 1976 and 1962 / 1964) have done it twice; China (1982 / 1984) and the USSR (1970 / 1972) once.

Can Poland repeat their Montreal 1976 Olympic and claim Olympic gold in the same cycle as their World Championship title?
No. Poland were knocked out of the medals round after losing to USA in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

Back in the 1970s, after taking the FIVB World Championship title in Mexico City in 1974, Poland had gone on to strike gold at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games.

Only the USSR have achieved the 'double' twice, in 1962 / 1964 and in 1978 / 1980. Others to have done it are USA in 1986 / 1988 and Brazil in 2002 / 2004.

Can Ze Roberto overtake Nikolay Karpol in the coaches ranking of gold medals won?
No. With Brazil going down to China in the quarterfinals, coach Jose 'Ze Roberto' Guimaraes missed out on becoming the second coach in history with three Olympic titles to his name -right up there with legendary Nikolay Karpol (though the Russian additionally has a couple of silver for a total of five medals).

The 62-year-old coach led Brazil in their gold-medal-winning performances in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. But he also has an Olympic gold from his days as coach of the men's teams of Brazil, in Barcelona 1992.

He remains the only coach to have led teams of both genders to Olympic gold. His counterpart in Brazil's men's team, Bernardo 'Bernardinho' Rezende has also won Olympic medals with both the men's and women's teams -though no gold with the women.


Ze Roberto consoles grandson Felipe immediately after Brazil crashed out of Rio 2016.

Can Lang Ping or Karch Kiraly become the first person to win Olympic gold both as player and coach?
Yes and no. Lang Ping became the first person to win a gold medal as both player and coach of the same team.

The 56-year-old won a gold as a player for China at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. After embarking on a coaching career to lead the women's National Team of China to silver in Atlanta 1996, she moved to the USA and coached the women's National Team to a silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, before returning to her homeland to retake charge of the China National Team.

She finally got her gold as coach when China beat Serbia 3-1 in the women's final of Rio 2016.

Lang already held the distinction of being the only female coach to have ever won an Olympic medal and was also one of only three people to have won medals both as a player and coach. Yuri Chesnokov was captain of the USSR that won gold when volleyball made its Olympic debut in Tokyo 1964 and then coached his country's team to bronze in Munich 1972 and silver in Montreal 1976. And Bernardo 'Bernardinho' Rezende won silver as a player at Los Angeles 1984 before coaching the women's and men's National Teams of Brazil to several medals.

Karch Kiraly has won three Olympic gold medals as a player -and is the only player in the world to have done so both indoors and on the beach. After leading USA to gold at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, Kiraly returned to action at Atlanta 1996 to claim a third gold with partner Kent Steffes in the inaugural Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

He claimed his first medal as head coach at Rio 2016 when USA beat The Netherlands 3-1 in the bronze medal match, after his team had been knocked out in the semifinals by Serbia in five sets. He was assistant to coach Hugh McCutcheon when USA women won silver at the London 2012, before taking full charge of the team.


Lang Ping celebrates the minute Hui Ruoqi scores the last point and China win the gold medal at Rio 2016.

Can the same country win both the men's and women's gold medals?

No. Already after the semifinals this became impossible, as teams from four different nations (Serbia and China in the women's tournament; Italy and Brazil in the men's) made it through to the medals round.

It's only been done once before - and that was as way back as almost half a century ago, when the USSR won gold in both genders at the Mexico City 1968 Games.

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