| Event type

Volleyball, Women

Date27 August – 7 September 1972
LocationVolleyballhalle, Olympiapark, München
Participants91 from 8 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.

The event had a different format compared to the 1964 and 1968 Olympics, with eight teams competing in two pools of four. The qualifying standards were as follows: the defending champion (USSR), the top four teams at the 1970 World Championships (Japan, North Korea [DPR Korea], Hungary, and Czechoslovakia substituting for the Soviets), the Asian Champion (Korea), the 1967 Pan-American Games champion (Cuba), and the host nation (Federal Republic of Germany). The top two teams in each pool were advanced to the semi-finals, with four final matches used to determine final placements.

The Soviets were favored, having won the 1970 Worlds, the 1968 Olympics, and the last four European titles. Their main opponent was expected to be their long-time rival, Japan, the 1964 Olympic champion. Japan and the USSR both won their pools with undefeated records, and were joined in the semis by the two Koreas. This was not considered an upset as Korea had been third at the 1967 Worlds and North Korea (DPR Korea) third at the 1970 Worlds. But they were both defeated fairly easily in the semis by the favorites, setting up the hoped-for final. And it was quite a final. The two teams alternated sets, with the Soviet Union eventually winning 15-11, in the fifth.

In the bronze medal match, DPR Korea easily defeated Korea in three sets, 7, 9, and 9. After the match, the South Koreans claimed that the top PRK player Kim Zung-Bok was a man, not a woman. Their protest was disallowed, as the IOC had issued sex tests prior at these Olympics, and Kim had passed them. But according to the South Koreans, she had been substituted in the test by another player, Han Jong-Suk, who did not play at the Olympics.

1Soviet UnionURS501015–5270–206Gold
3Democratic People's Republic of KoreaPRK32810–6211–154Bronze
4Republic of KoreaKOR2377–9169–189
8West GermanyFRG0550–15131–228

Preliminary Round (27 August – 1 September 1972)

Group A (27 – 31 August 1972)

Round-robin pools.


Match #127 Aug 15:30HUN 3 – 0FRG
Match #227 Aug 21:00URS 3 – 1KOR
Match #329 Aug 15:30KOR 3 – 0HUN
Match #429 Aug 21:00URS 3 – 0FRG
Match #531 Aug 15:30URS 3 – 1HUN
Match #631 Aug 21:00KOR 3 – 0FRG

Group B (28 August – 1 September 1972)

Round-robin pools.


Match #128 Aug 15:30PRK 3 – 0CUB
Match #228 Aug 21:00JPN 3 – 0TCH
Match #330 Aug 15:30JPN 3 – 0CUB
Match #430 Aug 21:00PRK 3 – 0TCH
Match #501 Sep 15:30CUB 3 – 1TCH
Match #601 Sep 21:00JPN 3 – 0PRK

Classification Round 5-8 (2 September 1972)

Classification matches.

Match #102 Sep 15:30CUB 3 – 0FRG
Match #202 Sep 21:00HUN 3 – 2TCH

Semi-Finals (2 – 3 September 1972)


Match #103 Sep 15:30JPN 3 – 0KOR
Match #203 Sep 21:00URS 3 – 1PRK

Final Round (7 September 1972)

Medal round.

Match 1/207 Sep 21:00URS 3 – 2JPN
Match 3/407 Sep 15:30PRK 3 – 0KOR
Match 5/607 Sep 19:30HUN 3 – 2CUB
Match 7/807 Sep 14:00TCH 3 – 0FRG