The basic story of the 1964 Japanese women’s team is (should be?) well known.
At the time volleyball was accepted into the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, only nine man volleyball was played in Japan. Japan had to learn to play six man volleyball from scratch and become a world power in less than five years in order to fulfill their responsibilities to national pride at their home Olympics. On their first tour of Europe in 1959 they lost every match. By 1962 they were World Champions. In 1964 they won the first ever Olympic Gold Medal. The basic background is that the coach developed new methods, that even at the time were considered close to abuse. The team trained the team for eight hours per day, around their full time jobs.
Below is a film made in 1963 on the team, showing them at work, training and competition.
Some articles on the team are here, here and here.
Tagged Volleyball History
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