Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Druzhba Multipurpose Arena, Moskva; Minor Arena, Central Lenin Stadium Area, Moskva
Date Started: July 21, 1980
Date Finished: July 29, 1980
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
There were eight teams separated into two groups of four, followed by a medal round. The qualifying was as follows: defending Olympic Champion (Japan), 1978 World Champion (Cuba), host nation (Soviet Union), 1979 European Champion (GDR, replacing the Soviets), Asian Champion (China), North American Champion (United States), South American Champion (Peru), and Romania qualified via a special tournament held in Bulgaria. China, Japan and the United States joined the American-led boycott, and were replaced by Brazil, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The United States would have been a medal contender. The absent nations of China, Japan, Korea, and the United States comprised four of the top six places at the 1978 World Championships.
Cuba had won the World Championships in 1978, while the Soviet Union had won the last seven European Championships. Group A was a difficult one, with the Soviet Union and Cuba joined by East Germany, with had been runners-up at the last two Europeans. Cuba was the odd team out, with the USSR and GDR advancing to the semis, joined by Bulgaria and Hungary from Group B. But the USSR and GDR advanced to the final, where the favored Soviets won in four sets. They were coached by Nikolay Karpol, who later coached Russia, and was a national coach for about 20 years, and was quite famous for his thunderous motivational exhortations during breaks.