Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Sports Arena, Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, Long Beach, California
Date Started: July 29, 1984
Date Finished: August 11, 1984
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
The USSR was absent because of the boycott, but they would have been likely co-favorites, having won the last two World Championships and the last five Europeans. Because of the boycott, only 10 teams competed, separated into two pools. The 10 qualifying teams were selected as follows: defending champion (USSR), 1982 World Champion (Brazil, replacing the Soviets), host nation (United States), South American Champion (Argentina), European Champion (Poland, replacing the Soviets), World Cup Champion (Cuba, replacing the Soviets), North American Champion (Canada, replacing the United States), Asian Champion (Japan), African Champion (Egypt), and Bulgaria qualified in a special tournament. Bulgaria, Cuba, Poland, and the Soviet Union did not compete and were replaced by China, Italy, Korea, and Tunisia.
Of the competing teams the two leading contenders were the United States and Brazil, with Brazil having won the 1983 Pan-American Championship. The United States had not competed at the Olympics since 1968 and the World Championships since 1966, as most American players played in semi-pro leagues or beach volleyball. The US came into the tournament on a 24-match winning streak, which included four wins over the Soviet Union, although that streak ended with a loss to Brazil in Los Angeles. Brazil and the United States were both drawn in Group A, along with Korea, and all three teams finished with group records of 3 wins and 1 loss. But Korea lost out on point ratios, and Brazil and the US advanced to the semis, joined by Italy and Canada from the Group B, which was a major upset as they had defeated a tough Japanese team. Canada and Korea were easily dispatched in the semi-finals, and the United States played Brazil in the final. Perhaps helped by the home crowd, the United States won easily in three sets, 15-6, 15-6, 15-7. The US was led by Karch Kiraly, considered the best volleyball player in the world through the 1980s, and also a top beach player. Two Japanese players were disqualified for doping – Eiji Shimomura for testosterone, and Mikiyasu Tanaka for ephedrine, a stimulant.