USA finally climbing to the very top of the Olympic podium after so many attempts with legendary Karch Kiraly at the helm and the amazing performances of Serbia's Tijana Boskovic helped shape the women's volleyball tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
How Tijana Boskovic and Karch Kiraly shaped Tokyo 2020
Crunching the numbers of women's volleyball at the Olympics
Published 07:37, 12 Aug 2021
At the forefront of the statistical records was 24-year-old Boskovic, who emerged top scorer of the tournament on 192 points in eight matches, averaging a staggering 24 points per match.
That's not quite an Olympic record - the all-time high remaining the 207 scored by Korea's Kim Yeon Koung at London 2012.
This time round, Kim was second-best scorer of Tokyo 2020 - but on 136 points never really threatened Boskovic for top position.
Women's volleyball top scorers at the Olympic Games
Kim Yeon Koung
The 30-point scoring mark was breached five times at Tokyo 2020. All but one of these times it was either Boskovic or Kim who registered an entry on the prestigious list of players to have scored 30 points or more in a single Olympic Games match.
Boskovic did it twice in three sets, against Japan with 34 and Korea with 30, but also adding 32 in a five-set defeat to Brazil. And Kim bagged 30 in Korea's epic 3-2 pool play win over Japan.
Jordan Thompson was the only other player to make the list, smashing home 34 points as she led USA to a straight-set win over defending champions China.
Boskovic and Thompson are the only two players to have scored 30+ in just three sets at the Olympic Games.
However, the all-time Olympic scoring record of 44 points by Croatia's Barbara Jelic from her side's 3-1 win over China at Sydney 2000 remains safe until at least Paris 2024.
Boskovic was also the Tokyo 2020 most efficient attacker, striking 165 from a whopping 313 swings for a 52.72% efficiency.
Standing out at Tokyo 2020 however, was Russia's 17-year-old wonder, Arina Fedorovtseva, who rose above the pack as the tournament's best server. Fedorovtseva served 13 aces in seven matches for an average of .57 per set.
This matches the .57 per set performance of Serbia's Milena Rasic at Rio 2016 - though still falls short of the all-time Olympic record of .61 by Cuba's Yanelia Santos at Beijing 2008.
As a team effort, Serbia's 13 aces against Korea in just three sets matched the Olympic record for most in a single match set at London 2012 by Algeria against Great Britain.
But Turkey's Zehra Gunes did achieve an all-time high in blocking with 1.16 per set to better the record of 1.13 per set by USA's Danielle Scott that had stood since Sydney 2000. They are the only two players to have averaged more than one block per set at the Olympic Games.
As was the case in the men's tournament, Tokyo 2020 registered the longest match and longest set in Olympic history.
It took Russia 2 hours 27 minutes to beat China in five dramatic sets and Kenya challenged Korea for 41 minutes before succumbing 26-24 in the third of their straight-set defeat.
Earlier in pool play, Brazil and the Dominican Republic had battled it out for 2 hours 26 minutes before the South Americans dominated in five sets - the fourth of which went the Caribbean side's way in 40 minutes.
But numbers-wise it was not just about the match statistics at Tokyo 2020.
After USA's triumph at the Ariake Arena, two players joined the list of now 14 players to have won at least three Olympic medals. Jordan Larson and Foluke Akinradewo collected their third medal and first gold to add to their silver from London 2012 and bronze from Rio 2016.
The legendary Cuban generation of the 1990s lead the table of Olympic medallists in women's volleyball with Ana Fernandez at the very top on three gold (at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000) plus a bronze (from Athens 2004).
She is joined, by teammates Regla Bell, Marlenis Costa, Idalmis Gato, Mireya Luis and Regla Torres as the only players to have won three gold medals.
The only other female player with a total of four Olympic medals is the Soviet Union's legendary Inna Ryskal, who picked up gold medals at Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972 in addition to silver in Tokyo 1964 and Montreal 1976.
But there's one more achievement of epic proportions that marked Tokyo 2020 - and although not quite pertaining to women's volleyball, it was struck with USA's win over Serbia for the gold medal.
Karch Kiraly secured his fourth Olympic gold medal as he coached USA to victory at Tokyo 2020 - and he has won these as indoor player (Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988), as beach player (Atlanta 1996) and now as coach. He also has a bronze as coach of the USA women's team from Rio 2016, making for a total of an incredible five Olympic medals.
Kiraly, however, is not the first person to strike Olympic gold both as player and coach.
Lang Ping achieved this when she led China to gold at Rio 2016, after she had climbed to the top of the podium as a player at Los Angeles 1984. She is the only female coach to have led a team to an Olympic medal and that also includes two silvers, with China at Atlanta 1996 and USA at Beijing 2008.
All records are since the introduction of the rally scoring system, as of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.