Top 6 Best Women's Indoor Volleyball Players Of All Time
Who are the top 6 best women's indoor volleyball players of all time?
- Regla Torres (Cuba)
- Lang Ping (China)
- Inna Ryskal (Russia)
- Mireya Luis (Cuba)
- Helia "Fofao" Pinto (Brazil)
- Fabiana Alvim (Brazil)
1. Regla Torres
When looking for the best female indoor volleyball players of all time, one name stands out as the greatest of the greats; that name is Regla Torres. In her stellar career, Torres was the best player of one of the best teams in history, the Cuban National Team that won three Olympic Gold Medals and two World Championships in a row. Justified by her achievements in the sport, Regla was elected by FIVB the greatest female volleyball player of the 20th century, the ultimate honor that makes her the best of all time. Her volleyball career started early, and at the age of 16 she was already playing for Cuba's senior team. Her athletic and agile playing clearly matured fast, as at just 17 she won her first of three Olympic gold medals. Two years later, at 19, Cuba won the FIVB World Championships, and Torres was elected as the tournament's MVP. Cuba continued to dominate, collecting gold medals, and Regla continued to add individual awards in addition to those medals.
Regla Torres' talent and overall volleyball completeness can be seen through those awards. She has won individual awards in many disciplines, such as serving, receiving, spiking, and blocking. By the end of her career, Regla Torres had conquered 14 international medals, of which an impressive 11 were gold. Torres' career was filled with both individual and team success, a balance that some of the great athletes sometimes don't find. Nonetheless, she was the greatest among the greats, and Regla Torres' Awards and medals speak for themselves.
- Regla Torres was one of the pillars of the most dominant indoor volleyball team to ever exist, the Cuba's Women's National Team.
- With the Cuban team, Torres won a total of 11 international gold medals, including three Olympic golds, and two FIVB World Championships.
- Regla Torres was elected by the FIVB the best female indoor volleyball player of the 20th century.
- At the 1992 Olympic Games, Regla became the youngest volleyball Olympic Gold-Medalist ever, at the age of 17.
- Due to her valuable contributions to the world of volleyball and history in the sport, Regla Torres is a member of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.
2. Lang Ping
Lang Ping's volleyball nickname tells a lot about her career and style of play. The "Iron Hammer" was a vicious player, who besides having power in her play, was also smart and athletic, a combination that turned her into one of the greatest volleyball players of all time. A true leader on the court, Ping was captain of the Chinese National team that won the country's first Olympic gold medal in volleyball; she was elected by the FIVB as the Olympics' MVP. Her leadership traits would also be seen later in her career, as a coach. In 1985, Lang Ping and China won the FIVB World Cup and she was elected the tournamet's MVP. Immediately after, Ping retired to start a coaching career. She was only 25, the beginning of her prime. Lang Ping would still come back a few years later to win a silver medal at the 1990 World Championships, held in China.
Lang Ping's impact on volleyball could be much bigger if she hadn't retired so early, given her talent and volleyball mind. Retiring as a Chinese legend and beloved in her own country, Lang Ping had been a World and Olympic Champion, and a two time World Cup winner. Unquestionably she was a successful player, due to her unique talent. Lang Ping was as successful as a coach, if not more. In 1995 she took charge of China's Women's Volleyball team, winning one World Cup bronze, Olympic Silver, and World Championships silver in her first three years, while being named FIVB's coach of the year. Later on, she would lead the Chinese team to the Olympic gold in 2016, and the women's American team to a silver in 2008. Although her impact as a player may have been cut short due to an early retirement, Lang Ping's playing made her one of the best players in history. In addition to that, her impact on volleyball only grew, as she became an incredible coach.
- Lang Ping was the captain of China's national team that won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. She was elected the Games' MVP.
- Ping was part of the Chinese team that conquered international volleyball's triple crown, winning the Olympics, the FIVB World Cup, and the FIVB World Championships.
- Due to her contributions to volleyball both as a player and a coach, Lang Ping was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.
- Lang Ping was the first and only individual to have won Olympic gold medals both as a player and as a coach.
- Due to her athletic achievements, Lang Ping is idolized in her home-country of China. Lang Ping even had a movie made about her career as a player and coach.
3. Inna Ryskal
Mentioned above, Lang Ping and Regla Torres were the center pieces of dominating teams in the 1980s and 1990s respectively. But before them, there was Inna Ryskal, the best player of the most dominant women's volleyball team during the 1970s, the USSR. Inna started playing for the senior national team in 1961, at 16 years old. It didn't take long for Inna Ryskal to find success on the court, as in 1962, she was part of the USSR team that finished second in the FIVB's World Championships. That would be Ryskal's first of three medals in World Championships, throughout her career she would win another silver, and one gold, in 1974 and 1970 respectively. Those World Championships are only a part of Inna's and the USSR's glories during the 1960s and 1970s. The team would take the court not to beat, but rather to dominate opponents in a playing style based purely on powerful attacking. The team's strategy was highly reliant on Inna herself, who was a powerful attacker, and thus she became the team's central piece. Inna's power would be showcased to the world at the 1964 Olympics, in Tokyo.
Due to her ruthless, strong attacking, she became known as the "Caspian Thunderstorm," yet another proof of her strength. In Japan she won her first Olympic medal, a silver after losing to the host team, Japan. However, four years later the USSR would have their revenge, and defeat Japan in the final, winning the gold, Inna's first. She would go on to repeat her results in the next two editions; with two gold and two silver medals in the Olympics, more than any other female volleyball player ever. Although she has unquestionably won enough titles, Inna Ryskal is one of the best players ever not only because of that, but also because of her unmatched attacking power.
- No women's volleyball player has won more Olympic Medals than Inna Ryskal. She has a total of four, two gold and two silver medals, in four participations. She always brought home a medal.
- Part of an incredibly dominant team during the 1970s, Ryskal has won three World Championships medals, two silver and one gold.
- With an incredible history in the sport, Inna Ryskal was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.
- At the time Inna was in her prime, the current volleyball awards through which we measure greatness did not exist. However, because of her outstanding career, Inna was presented by the FIVB with the "Outstanding Achievement in World Volleyball" award.
- Because of her accomplishments with Soviet Union's national volleyball team, Inna was presented with the Medal for Labor Valor and Order of the Red Banner of Labor by the USSR, a great honor at the time.
4. Mireya Luis
Mireya Luis can easily be called a volleyball prodigy. By the age of 15, she was already a starter on the Cuban Women's Volleyball National Team. That was no ordinary team, it was one of the greatest teams in history, and Mireya was fundamental in their success. Not unexpectedly, Mireya, along with some of her teammates, are the only female volleyball players that have won three Olympic gold medals. The Cuban team was dominant all throughout the 1990s, and that doesn't only include the Olympics. Mireya Luis also won two FIVB World Championships, and finished second once. She also accumulated titles in Grand Prix's and World Cups, and Panamerican Games. When winning all those tournaments, Mireya was a brighter star on a team full of bright stars. She has collected individual awards such MVPs, Best Scorer awards, and Best Spiker awards.
Attacking and spiking were definitely Mireya's strengths. At only 5 foot 10, many wouldn't even think that Mireya could be a volleyball player, much less one of the best in history. However, she had a once-in-a-generation jump, breaking vertical jump records and impressing those who didn't know her game. With athleticism and scoring abilities, the Cuban team relied heavily on Mireya Luis for scoring, and she corresponded accordingly. Outside of the court, the volleyball player was also an MVP, always serving as a role model and as an idol in her country.
- Mireya Luis is a three time Olympic gold medalist, the Games in 1992, 1996, and 2000.
- Mireya has won countless individual awards, but most notably she was twice selected MVP in FIVB's World Cups, as well in the 1992 Olympics.
- Playing for Cuba throughout her career, Mireya Luis won a total 16 international medals in the most important competitions, of which 11 were gold medals.
- Due to her contributions to volleyball, Luis is a member of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.
- Mireya Luis is one of only four volleyball players, male or female, that have won three Olympic golds in indoor volleyball. The other three players are all her teammates from the Cuban team.
5. Helia "Fofao" Pinto
Helia Souza, nicknamed Fofao, had one of the most brilliant careers in volleyball history. Beloved throughout the world, she made her nickname, her number 7 jersey, and her incredible story well-known by being one of the best players ever. Fofao is a player that has found success at every stage of her career. She won titles in all countries where she played, for the national team, keeping the consistency from beginning to end. To set an example, after retiring from the Brazilian National Team, Fofao kept playing at the club level in Brazil. In 2015, at 45 years old, she won her third title of the Brazilian league, and was crowned the finals MVP. She has won more than 20 individual awards, mainly MVPs and Best Setter Awards. Those include twice Best Setter in the Olympics and many more in Grand Prix's.
Talking about volleyball Grand Prix, Fofao has seen plenty of them. She has 10 Grand Prix Medals and 7 golds, a competition record. However, there is one gold medal missing in Fofao's collection; she never won the FIVB World Championships, finishing with the silver twice. Nonetheless, that doesn't make her career any less brilliant, and Fofao anything but great. Her abilities as a setter, her medals, and her consistent success during her long-lasting career all speak for themselves, and Fofao is a must-have in any volleyball greatests discussion.
- With a long lasting career, consistent, and overall brilliant career, Helia Pinto is one of the most successful female volleyball players ever.
- Fofao was the first volleyball player to compete in five editions of the Olympic Games.
- In the 2008 Olympics, Helia won the gold medal with Brazil, and was selected as the tournament's best setter. In addition to that, she has also won two Olympic bronze medals.
- Fofao ended her career with 21 international medals with Brazil. On the club level, she has won 33 medals, playing for clubs all around the globe.
- Due to her achievements in volleyball, Helia Fofao has been inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.
6. Fabiana Alvim
If Brazilians can call themselves two-time Women's Volleyball Olympic Champions, it is much because of Fabiana Alvim, or simply Fabi. Fabi was not only an exceptional player, but also a remarkable leader to whom players looked up to. Wildly successful throughout her career, Fabiana is widely regarded as the best libero of all time. Naturally, she had unmatching defensive talents, which propelled her to success and were alway an important part of her team's success, regardless of where she was. As a defensive specialist, her greatness can be seen through her individual awards. Although she was rarely elected a tournament's MVP, she was constantly being named Best Libero or Best Receiver, and without her playing, her teams probably wouldn't have a chance at the title. But most of the time, they did, and therefore Fabi is a volleyball multi-champ.
In addition to her Olympic Golds, she has 5 Grand Prix Titles, three silvers, and two World Championships silver medals. At the club level, Fabi Alvim is one of the Brazilian League's most remarkable and famous players. Staying her whole career in the country, she is beloved by volleyball fans all around Brazil, and gets sympathy from all fan bases. Being considered the greatest of all time in something is not easy. Yet Fabi Alvim is constantly being called the best libero ever. No one can erase her story in the sport, and thus she is one of volleyball's greatest players ever.
- Fabiana is a two-time Olympic champion, having won gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. In 2008, she was elected as the competition's Best Libero.
- Playing for Brazil, Fabiana Alvim has won 25 international medals, in competitions that range from South American Games to World Championships.
- Throughout her career, she accumulated a total of 18 individual awards, most of which were Best Libero or Best Receiver Awards.
- Playing all her career in the strong Brazilian league, Fabiana won the Superliga Feminina a total of 10 times. In addition, she won many more regional and continental titles at the club title.
- Fabiana ended her career the way she was used to, by winning a medal. In her last game her team finished second in the Brazilian League, getting a silver medal.