Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Sports Arena, Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, Long Beach, California
Date Started: July 30, 1984
Date Finished: August 7, 1984
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
In most years, the Eastern European boycott would have decimated the women's volleyball tournament. But the best two teams in the world in 1984 were China and the United States. The four top teams from the 1982 World Championships – China, Peru, United States, and Japan – were all present in Los Angeles. China had won the 1982 World Championships, with the United States third. The qualifying selection was as follows: host nation (United States), defending Olympic Champion (USSR), 1982 World Champion (China), European Champion (GDR [East Germany]), South American Champion (Brazil), Asian Champion (Japan), and North American Champion (Cuba). An African team was invited but there was no interest. The USSR, East Germany and Cuba boycotted the 1984 Olympics, and were replaced by the FRG (West Germany), Korea (South), and Canada. Peru was allotted a spot in the tournament when no African team elected to compete.
The leading four teams made it to the semi-finals. In pool play, the US had defeated China in four sets. Both teams won their semis in straight sets, over Peru and Japan respectively, and met again in the final. China got revenge on the earlier match, winning quite easily in three sets, 16-14, 15-3, 15-9. The US was led by Flo Hyman, the very tall (1.95 [6-5]) front spiker. Only 17 months after the Los Angeles Olympics, Hyman died while playing professional volleyball in Japan, the victim of a dissecting aortic aneurysm. Hyman had Marfan's Syndrome (as did Abraham Lincoln), which manifests itself in very tall, thin individuals, but also can make them prone to weakness of the walls of the major arteries.