At the 2015 World Grand Prix Russia took the silver medal after a final day win over Japan. Last year at the World Championship, Ekaterina Gamova was back following international retirement and Russia reached the third round in Milan before falling to the USA and Italy, taking a ranking of joint-fifth. Russia make their return to the World Cup after a 16-year absence. In 1999 they won the silver medal ahead of Brazil but behind an invincible Cuba side that won all their 11 games. All of their other six appearances were as the Soviet Union, when they won gold in 1973 and collected three bronzes and one silver medal between 1981 and 1991.
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. Including years competing as the Soviet Union, the Russians are the most successful women’s volleyball nation. They won 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 also triumphed at the 1997 Grand Champions Cup.