Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Druzhba Multipurpose Arena, Moskva; Minor Arena, Central Lenin Stadium Area, Moskva
Date Started: July 20, 1980
Date Finished: August 1, 1980
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
The US-led boycott had little effect on the volleyball tournament, except that the field was cut to only 10 teams. The qualifying standards were as follows: the defending Olympic Champion (Poland), the host nation (USSR), 1978 World Champion (Italy, runner-up but title won by the Soviets), Asian Champion (China), North American Champion (Cuba), African Champion (Tunisia), South American Champion (Brazil), European Champion (Yugoslavia, replacing Poland and the Soviet Union), plus two teams selected from a qualifying tournament in Bulgaria (Bulgaria and Romania). China and Tunisia joined the boycott, and were replaced by Czechoslovakia and Libya.
The hometown Soviet Union was a heavy favorite, having won the 1978 World Championships, the last four European titles, and 1977 World Cup. The two pools were won by the USSR and Poland, the defending gold medalists. The Soviets defeated Romania in straight sets to win one semi-final, but Poland went down to Bulgaria in the other semi, also in straights. In the final, Bulgaria was no match for the favored Soviet Union, losing in four sets. Both Bulgaria and Romania had made considerable progress in the sport. Bulgaria was only 10th at the 1978 Worlds and 1979 Europeans, while Romania was 13th at the 1978 World and seventh at the 1979 Europeans. Libya would prove to be the worst team to ever play in Olympic volleyball. They lost all five matches and all 15 sets, and were outscored 180-23. Libya won more than two points in a set only four times, scoring their most points, six, in the third set of their match against Brazil.