Charles Frederick “Karch” Kiraly (prounounced “Kuh-rye”) of the United States is regarded by many as the greatest volleyballer ever. He learned the game from his father, a Hungarian doctor who had played the sport in his native country, and on the beaches of California, where Kiraly grew up. In 1986, the FIVB declared him the top player in the world, the first time that distinction had been given. He won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, 1985 World Cup, 1986 World Championships, and 1987 Pan-American Games. He played at UCLA in college, where he led them to three NCAA championships and was twice named most valuable player of the NCAA Tournament. Playing professionally in Italy, he helped Il Messaggero win the 1991 World Club Championship. Later a star at beach volleyball, he was the leading money winner and top player at that sport for most of the early 1990s. At Atlanta in 1996, Kiraly partnered Kent Steffes to win the inaugural Olympic gold medal in two-man beach volleyball. He did not compete at the 2000 Olympics, but competed on the beach volleyball circuit through 2003.