Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Dynamo Palace of Sports, Moskva; Sokolniki Palace of Sports, Mosvka
Date Started: July 21, 1980
Date Finished: July 29, 1980
Format: Round-robin tournament.
The top four of the 1978 worlds (DDR, USSR, Hungary, Czechslovakia) plus the host nation (5th place Yugoslavia substituted for the Soviets) were pre-qualified. The sixth nation was decided in a tournament between South Korea, Congo-Brazzaville and the US. The South Koreans won, but as they ended up boycotting the Games, second-placed Congo was promoted to the Olympics. The African side turned out to be horribly outmatched by the other five competitors. They lost all five games, scoring only 9.2 goals per game, while having to deal with an average 31.8 goals against. Their loss against Yugoslavia (9-39), stands out as the most lopsided women's match in Olympic history, second only to the 44-10 thrashing of Kuwait in the men's competition in Moscow.
The East German women were favored because they had won the 1978 world title (as well as in 1971 and 1975), but they first faltered in a draw with Yugoslavia (15-15). Pitted against the Soviets in the final match, they could still win the tournament if they could claim a victory, similar to the 1976 Olympics. But there was no chance of that happening. The Soviets, who had solidly won all their prior matches, led 7-6 at half-time and then moved away from their opponents to win 18-13. Woman of the match was Olha Zubareva, who scored eight times.
This meant Yugoslavia and East Germany were equal in points, and because they had drawn in their match, goal difference would decide. The Yugoslav women ended with the aforementioned wash-out of Congo, brushing up their goal difference to +40, which beat the +33 advantage of the German women, who had "only" beaten Congo by 22 points.