| Event type

Volleyball, Women

Date21 – 29 September 1988
LocationChe-yuk-gwan, Han-yang Dae-hak-gyo, Seoul
Participants95 from 8 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.

The teams qualified as follows: defending Olympic Champion (China), 1986 World Championships (Cuba, replacing China), host nation (Korea), European Champion (GDR [East Germany]), Asian Champion (Japan), North American Champion (United States), and South American Champion (Peru). Africa was allowed to enter a team, but there was no interest, and a qualifying tournament was held in Italy, won by the Soviet Union. When Cuba boycotted, it was replaced by Brazil.

China had won the last two World Championships, while the last four European titles were split among the Soviet Union and East Germany (GDR). Peru had been on the podium at the 1982 and 1986 Worlds, led by Cecilia Tait and Denise Fajardo, considered the best female players in the world. Cuba had been runners-up at the 1986 World Championships, but boycotted the 1988 Olympics. Eventually Peru and the USSR made it to the final, where they engaged in an epic match. Peru won the first two sets, 15-10, 15-12, and they led the third set, 12-6. The Soviets called a timeout and made several substitutions and fought back. They won the third and fourth sets, and won the first six points of the fifth set. But Peru would not quit, tying the score 7-7. Then the USSR pulled gradually ahead, only to see the Lazarus-like Peruvians take the lead at 15-14. After both teams fought off match points, the Soviet Union prevailed, 17-15 in five sets. The USSR was quite fortunate, as it had not originally qualified for the Olympic tournament, being added to the field after a qualifying tournament held only when no African team wished to compete.

Women’s volleyball had become very popular in Peru, where it flourished in the poor neighborhoods of Lima, when fields were created for girls to play (boys played football). Peru hosted the 1982 World Championships (finishing second), and nearly won the first Peruvian gold in 40 years in Seoul. They were coached by a Korean (Park Man-Bok), the women’s team coach since 1973. Three of the players later became members of parliament: Gaby Pérez, Cenaida Uribe, and Cecilia Tait. Tait was an orphan, who was adopted by a volleyball club at the age of 12.

1Soviet UnionURS41914–5268–190Gold
3People's Republic of ChinaCHN32811–7217–202Bronze
5East GermanyGDR32810–10238–246
7United StatesUSA2379–13257–273
8Republic of KoreaKOR1468–13224–277

Preliminary Round (21 – 25 September 1988)

Group A (21 – 25 September 1988)

Round-robin pools.


Match #121 Sep 12:00JPN 3 – 2URS
Match #221 Sep 18:30KOR 3 – 1GDR
Match #323 Sep 18:30GDR 3 – 2JPN
Match #423 Sep 20:30URS 3 – 0KOR
Match #525 Sep 9:45URS 3 – 0GDR
Match #625 Sep 12:00JPN 3 – 1KOR

Group B (21 – 25 September 1988)

Round-robin pools.


Match #121 Sep 9:45CHN 3 – 0USA
Match #221 Sep 20:30PER 3 – 0BRA
Match #323 Sep 9:45USA 3 – 2BRA
Match #423 Sep 12:00PER 3 – 2CHN
Match #525 Sep 18:30CHN 3 – 1BRA
Match #625 Sep 20:30PER 3 – 2USA

Classification Round 5-8 (27 September 1988)

Classification matches.

Match #127 Sep 12:00BRA 3 – 2KOR
Match #227 Sep 18:00GDR 3 – 1USA

Semi-Finals (27 September 1988)


Match #127 Sep 9:45PER 3 – 2JPN
Match #227 Sep 20:30URS 3 – 0CHN

Final Round (29 September 1988)

Medal round.

Match 1/229 Sep 20:30URS 3 – 2PER
Match 3/429 Sep 18:00CHN 3 – 0JPN
Match 5/629 Sep 12:00GDR 3 – 1BRA
Match 7/829 Sep 9:45USA 3 – 2KOR


Side Outs