Host City: Sydney, Australia
Venue(s): Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales
Date Started: September 16, 2000
Date Finished: September 30, 2000
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
In the now standard format, 12 teams competed, separated into two pools of six, followed by elimination and medal/placement matches. The qualifying teams were selected as follows: host nation (Australia), World Cup (Cuba, Russia, Brazil), Continental Qualifiers (Kenya, Korea, United States, Peru, Germany), and qualification tournaments (Italy, China, Croatia)
The two favorites were Cuba and Russia. Cuba had won the last two gold medals, and the 1994 and 1998 World Championships. They were drawn together in Group B and Russia defeated the Cubans in five close sets. The semi-finals saw Cuba require five sets to defeat Brazil, while the Russians also needed five sets to beat a tough US team. The two favorites matched off in the final, and Russia narrowly won the first two sets, 27-25, 34-32. But Cuba then showed why they had won almost every tournament since 1992, taking the last three sets easily, and winning their third consecutive gold medal. Four Cuban players â [Regla Bell], [Marlenis Costa], [Mireya Luis], and [Regla Torres] â played on all three championship teams.