Cuba Volleyball and Cuban Volleyball star Leonel Marshall
Cuba

There is one name which comes to mind when talking about men's Cuban volleyball: Leonel Marshall. Both father and son have been prominent Cuban volleyball players.

Leonel Marshall was a player in the second half of the 1970's, who in 1976, aged 21, gained an Olympic bronze medal for the Cuban volleyball team, playing in all 6 matches of the event.

He played again for the Cuban volleyball team in the 1980 Olympics, again playing in all 6 matches, but the team finished in overall 7th position.

Nowadays it is his son, Havana born Leonel Marshall Jr who has been making a name for himself on the volleyball pitch. A strapping 1.96 metres tall, Marshall Jr came into the public spotlight in the 2000 Olympic games where he was the youngest member of the Cuban volleyball team, at 20 years old.

Cuba

Since then in the world of volleyball, Leonel Marshall has gone on to become one of the premier players heralding from Cuba with an incredible ability for being able to jump up a whopping 1.27 metres into the air from standing.

Following a match in Belgium in December 2001, Leonel Marshall, along with 5 other members of the national Cuban volleyball team, Angel Dennis, Ramón Gato, Ihosvany Hernández, Jorge Luis Hernandez and Yasser Romero defected, heading to Italy.

Marshall played for the Italian team, Pallavolo Piacenza, from 2003 until 2010, exluding a period in 2007 to 2008 where he played for M. Roma Volley, whose team mates included fellow Cubans Osvaldo Hernandèz and Yasser Romero. In May 2010, he joined the team Fenerbahçe Istanbul, where Ihosvany Hernández who had been captain of the Cuban team when they defected together, had played previously.

The name at the forefront of women's Cuban volleyball is Mireya Luis, she was the second Cuban to be included in the Volleyball Hall of Fame, where she was incorporated in 2004.

She was captain of the Cuban women's volleyball team, often nicknamed the Morenas del Caribe (the Caribbean Browns) and in 1986 famously played in the World Championships, winning a silver medal, less than 3 weeks after giving birth.

Similarly to Leonel Marshall, she was known for her outstanding jumping ability, able to jump up vertically over 91cm (36 inches).

Cuba

Hailing from Camagüey, she began playing volleyball at the age of 10 and within 5 years was one of the starters on the Cuban National Volleyball team.

Mireya Luis' achievements include a silver medal in the 1986 World Championships, followed by gold medals in those of 1990, 1994 and 1998. She was a member of the gold medal women's volleyball teams which took gold in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 summer Olympics. In addition she has won MVP awards in World Cup play, and medals for Grand Prix tournaments.

Since her retirement after the Sydney Olympics in 2000, she has been a Cuban Volleyball Federation member and 4 years later Mireya Luis joined the Athlete's Commission of the International Olympic committee.

The first Cuban to be inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame (2001) was Regla Torres who in 1992 became the youngest winner of a gold medal in Olympic volleyball, aged just 17.

The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) awarded her Best Volleyball Player of the Century and she has also won gold medals at the World Championships and MVP awards.

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