Although Russia have won three World Grand Prix titles, it has been 13 years since they topped the podium. They took the bronze medal last season, which is their best finish in the competition since they won the silver in 2009. After finishing fourth in Group 1’s Intercontinental round, wins against Belgium, Turkey and China in the Final Six sealed their spot on the podium. Later in the year at the World Championship Yuri Marichev’s side finished equal-fifth after reaching the third round before falling to USA and hosts Italy.
Their best spell in the World Grand Prix started in the late 1990s when, after clinching gold in 1997, they went on to win the title twice more in the next five years. Only Brazil have won more medals in the competition than Russia. Taking into account their years competing under the banner of the Soviet Union, the Russians are the most successful nation in the history of women’s volleyball. They claimed Olympic gold medals at Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Moscow 1980 and Seoul 1988. They have also won the World Championship seven times, including 2006 and 2010, and the European Championship on 18 occasions, most recently in 2013, and triumphed in the 1973 World Cup and the 1997 Grand Champions Cup.