Dates: July 20-Aug. 3; women play every other day.
Venues: University of Georgia and the Omni.
July 20 _ 12:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
July 22 _ 12:41 a.m.-2:11 a.m.
July 24 _ 12:41 a.m.-2:11 a.m.
July 26 _ 7:30 p.m.-midnight; 12:41-2:11 a.m.
July 28 _ 12:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
July 30 _ 12:41 a.m.-2:11 a.m.
Aug. 1 _ 12:41 a.m.-2:11 a.m.
Aug. 3 _ noon-6 p.m.
July 20-28 _ preliminary matches.
July 30 _ quarterfinals.
Aug. 1 _ 7th-place, 5th-place, semifinals.
Aug. 3 _ bronze and gold medal matches.
POOL PLAY: There's two pools of six teams each. Four emerge from each pool to play in the championship round.
U.S. pool schedule:
July 20 _ vs. Ukraine, 7:30 p.m.
July 22 _ vs. the Netherlands, 7:30 p.m.
July 24 _ vs. China, 7:30 p.m.
July 26 _ vs. Japan, 7:30 p.m.
July 28 _ vs. Korea, 1:30 p.m.
TERMS: A spike is an aggressive, overhand striking of the ball to the opponent's side of the court. A set is the pass that sets up the spike. A dig is the defensive play that keeps a spike from striking the floor. A kill is a spike that results in a point. A side out is the winning of the serve away from the other team.
FUN FACT: Volleyball was invented in 1885 as a less-demanding alternative to basketball for middle-aged businessmen. It became an Olympic sport in 1964.
ALL-TIME U.S. BEST: The sentimental choice here is Flo Hyman, the dynamic middle blocker who led the Americans to the silver medal in 1984 in Los Angeles. Hyman died in 1986 at age 31 of Marfan's syndrome, a congenital heart defect. Recognized as the first player to draw national attention to the game, Hyman _ a graceful 6-foot-4 middle blocker _ was a charismatic role model for today's generation of taller players.
ANALYSIS: Cuba, the defending gold-medal champion, is a women's volleyball dynasty, having won every major international competition in the last quadrennium _ except one. The United States notched its only major victory in the 1995 World Grand Prix, a grueling monthlong tournament played on consecutive weekends on different continents. The United States won bronze in 1992 and returns almost its entire team to make a run for the gold. Brazil has never won an Olympic medal.
Gold _ Cuba
Silver _ Brazil
Bronze _ United States
_ JOANNE KORTH