Lausanne, Switzerland, August 28, 2017 - The 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup will be the seventh edition of a competition which was inaugurated in 1993. Japan has hosted every event, traditionally in the year following an Olympic Games.
Now one of the top competitions on the FIVB calendar, this year’s event takes on additional importance with the next Olympic Games set to be held in Tokyo in 2020. Japan's capital city will also host the start of the 2017 World Grand Champions Cup at the Metropolitan Gymnasium on September 5.
“In 2017, volleyball will return to Japan, the country of its Olympic birthplace. The seventh edition of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup will provide Japan with a fantastic opportunity to showcase its love and passion for our sport at a time when all eyes have turned from Rio to Tokyo. This tournament is the only one that brings together the winners of four of the five continental championships to find out who is the “Champion of Champions”. They will also face the hosts, Japan, and a wild card,” said FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°, explaining the importance of the tournament.
“The cup has changed hands many times since the tournament started in 1993 and I know we can all look forward to genuinely exciting competition. The action on the court will be matched only by the quality and innovation of the fan experience. And after the tournament is over, I am sure we will all be inspired to go away and work as hard as we can to make 2020 the success I know it can be,” added the head of the international federation.
The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup was launched as a bridge between the previous year’s Olympics and the coming Summer Games and the tournament's successful format has not changed since it was first held 24 years ago. Both the men’s and the women’s competitions feature six teams: hosts Japan welcome the four continental champions who finished highest at the last Olympic Games. They are joined by a wild card entry in the men’s and the women’s tournaments (Italy in the men's and Korea in the women's this year). The six teams all play each other in a round robin format. Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup - Women
FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup - Men
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The dominant nation in the history of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup is Brazil. In the men’s competition, the South Americans have won four of the six titles up for grabs, finishing runners-up on the two remaining occasions. In the women's competition, Brazil is the only country to have been crowned “Champion of Champions” twice. Brazil also goes into this year’s tournament as the double defending champion, having won both the men's and the women's competitions in 2013.
However, it was two different teams that took their place on the top step of the podium when the tournament was held for the first time in 1993. The men’s title went to the outstanding Italians, who were in the midst of a golden era, in which they were crowned world champions on three occasions between 1990 and 1998. The women’s competition was won by the legendary Cuban team – “Las Morenas del Caribe” – who claimed three Olympic gold medals in the successful era between 1992 and 2000.
The Cuban men’s team also has one title to its name: victory at the 2001 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup remains one of the biggest in their history. Aside from 1993 and 2001, however, the Brazilians have been unbeatable, winning the tournament in 1997, 2005, 2009 and 2013.
There is a little more variety in the winners list in the women’s competition. As well as record winners Brazil (2005 and 2013), Russia (1997), reigning Olympic champions China (2001) and Italy (2009) have also triumphed.
In both the men’s and women’s competitions, eight teams have picked up medals in the history of the tournament. As well as tournament winners Brazil, Italy and Cuba, the Netherlands, Russia, USA, Japan and Serbia have also picked up medals in the men’s competition.
In the women’s tournament, the winners Brazil, Cuba, Russia, China and Italy have also been joined on the podium by the USA, the Dominican Republic and Japan. The hosts are still waiting for their first triumph on home soil. Third place is their best result so far (2009 men’s, 2001 and 2013 women’s).
It goes without saying that the 2017 edition of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup will feature a number of firsts. This year, France are set for their debut in the men’s competition, which also means FIVB Volleyball World League finalists Brazil and France will meet again this summer at the tournament in Japan.