|HISTORY IN THE MAKING
The first men's World Championship, held on a
re-purposed outdoor tennis court in Prague,
Czechoslovakia in 1949, was for all practical
purposes, a European Championship with all ten teams
from within Europe.
From these meager beginnings started one of the
great competitions and traditions in international
sport - the Men's Volleyball World Championship.
It also started a great era of domination for the
eventual winners, the USSR, which is still felt
today. The Soviets won six of the first twelve
World titles, finishing in the first three places in
all but one championship (1970) over the next
forty-one years. They also won the three Olympic gold
medals, in Tokyo 1964, Mexico 1968 and Moscow
Czechoslovakia was the other great volleyball power
in the early years. They hold the distinction, with
the USSR/Russia, of being the only team to have
competed in every men's World Championship, winning
the World title in 1956 and 1966, and finishing second
in 1949, 1952, 1960 and 1962.
Germany (GDR - 1979), Poland (1974) and the USA
(1986) took individual wins, but neither team
maintained its World Championship dominance.
The late eighties and nineties saw the fall of the
Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the
start of a new chapter in Volleyball's history - the
Italian domination. The 'Squadra Azzurra' owned
the last decade, winning won all three World
Championships (1990, 1994, 1998), as well as eight of
the twelve World League titles.
What will the new Century bring? Will Italy make it
four-from-four titles? Will Brazil continue with the
brilliant form that won it this year's World League?
Will Yugoslavia relive its glory of the Sydney Olympic
Games? Or will a new 'star' be born in Argentina? Go
to Men's World Championship Honour list 1949 - 1998