Host City: Athina, Greece
Date Started: August 14, 2004
Date Finished: August 29, 2004
Participants: 283 (143 men and 140 women) from 19 countries
Youngest Participant: Nancy Nyongesa (17 years, 58 days)
Oldest Participant: Paolo Tofoli (38 years, 12 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 70 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Russia (2 medals)
The 2004 Olympic volleyball tournaments were held at the Stadio Eirinis kai Filias, or the Peace and Friendship Stadium, at the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex, in the Neo Faliro section of Piraeus. It was opened in 1985, and later became the host venue for Olympiakos Piraeus in the Greek Basketball League.
The men’s and women’s tournaments both had 12 teams separated into two six-team groups which played a round-robin tournament to advance four teams from each group to the quarter-finals.
The 12 men’s teams qualified as follows – Greece as the host nation; the top three teams from the 2003 World Cup (Brazil, Italy, Serbia & Montenegro); the winners of the continental qualifying tournaments (Russia, United States, Argentina, Tunisia, Australia [from the Asian tournament], France [from the Asian tournament]); and two teams from the 2004 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Poland, Netherlands).
The 12 women’s teams qualified as follows – Greece as the host nation; the top three teams from the 2003 World Cup (China, Brazil, United States); the winners of the continental qualifying tournaments (Cuba, Germany, Dominican Republic, Kenya); and the top four teams at the 2004 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Japan, Russia, Italy, Korea [South]).
In the men’s tournament Brazil was the heavy favorite, having won the 2002 World Championship, the 2003 World Cup, and the 2004 World League. They won the gold medal, as expected, defeating Italy in the final match. Cuba had won the women’s gold medal in 1992, 1996, and 2000 but their dominance slipped after the Sydney Olympics. China won the Athina gold medal in the women’s event with Cuba taking bronze, behind Russia.