History of Volleyball in the Olympics
Volleyball for both men and women became an official Olympic sport at the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964. At Tokyo 2020, teams are divided into two pools of six teams with each pool playing a round-robin. The top four teams of each pool advance to the quarterfinals and the final round is played under a knock-out system.
This year’s Olympic tournament will see 12 teams battle it out for Gold. Out of those 12 teams, 2 have female Head Coaches. That’s a percentage of 16.6%
Meet the female Head Coaches below:
Lang Ping – China
“Jenny” Lang Ping is a former Chinese volleyball player and the current head coach of China women’s national volleyball team. She was the former head coach of the United States women’s national volleyball team, herself being the MVP of women volleyball in 1984 Olympics.
In 2002, she became an inductee of the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Massachusetts. She coached the U.S. National team to a silver medal in at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in her home country and the gold medal Chinese team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, became the first person in volleyball history, male or female, to have won gold at the Olympics both as a player and as a coach
Lang Ping was an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico from 1987–89 and 1992–93.
In 1995, Lang became the head coach of the Chinese national team and eventually guided the squad to the silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and second place at the 1998 World Championships in Japan. Lang Ping resigned from the Chinese national team in 1998 due to health reasons. In the following year, she took a head coaching position in the Italian professional volleyball league and enjoyed great success there, winning various honours and the coach of the year award multiple times. She was selected 1996 FIVB Coach of the Year.
She became the coach of the US National Team in 2005. Lang guided the team to the 2008 Olympics, where the US team faced off with China in her home country. The US team defeated China 3–2. Then Chinese and US presidents, Hu Jintao and George W. Bush, attended the match. The match drew 250 million television viewers in China alone. The team went on to win the silver medal, losing to Brazil in the finals 3–1. Lang allowed her contract to run out later that year, citing that she wanted to coach a club so as to spend more time with her family. She became the head coach of the China women’s national volleyball team for the second time in 2013 and won the World Cup in Japan in 2015. In 2014, she was the only female head coach among the 24 teams in the FIVB World Championship.
On August 21, 2016, Lang Ping guided the Chinese national team to the gold medal at 2016 Rio Olympics. With this victory, Lang Ping became the first person in volleyball history, male or female, to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games as a player with the Chinese national team in Los Angeles 1984 and as the Chinese national team head coach in Rio 2016. On September 29, 2019, after China swept all eleven matches to defend the World Cup title, Lang Ping also became the first person to win the back-to-back World Cup champions both as a player(1981, 1985) and as a coach (2015, 2019)
Kumi Nakada – Japan
Kumi Nakada is a former professional volleyball player and coach of Hisamitsu Springs. She led Japan to a bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics while still in high school and, despite serious and chronic knee injuries, remained one of the world’s top setters until her retirement from the sport in 1993. Unusually for a Japanese athlete, Nakada was (and still is) remembered by opponents and teammates alike for her volatile temper, fiery competitiveness, and outspoken manner both on and off the court. After brief stints as a fashion model and motivational speaker, Nakada currently provides color commentary and makes guest appearances in a wide range of sports and variety media in Japan.