France writing history with their first ever Olympic gold medal (indeed, their first of any colour), Argentina climbing on the podium again after 33 years and Brazil dramatically falling off the podium for the first time in four Olympiads were the highlights of the men's volleyball tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The records of Bruno Lima, Yuji Nishida and the longest match in history
The numbers that defined men's volleyball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Published 07:25, 10 Aug 2021
But here's the records that defined this unforgettable tournament after 38 matches, 146 sets and 6,494 rallies over 70 hours and 28 minutes of play time.
Argentina's Bruno Lima emerged top scorer of the competition on 138 points (averaging 17.25 per match). Argentina are now the first country to have two entries in the list of Olympic best scorers, as Lima repeated the feat of Marcos Milinkovic who scored 150 points at Sydney 2000 which remains the all-time record.
Lima's tally, from 119 attacks (119/227 for 52%), 10 blocks and 9 aces, was low compared to other Olympic Games - but not the lowest ever. The 25-year-old opposite went one better than Italy's Andrea Sartoretti's scoring performance at Athens 2004.
Lima received more balls to swing at than any other player at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - a total of 227, which is two more than Russia's Maxim Mikhaylov.
Men's volleyball top scorers at the Olympic Games
Wallace de Souza
On the scoring front, Japan's Yuji Nishida was the only player at Tokyo 2020 to join the list of those that have scored 30 points or more in a single Olympic Games match.
The 21-year-old opposite smashed 30 points against Iran as he lifted Japan to an epic five-set win over Iran in the incredible deciding match for the last ticket to the quarterfinals.
Nishida is the first Japanese and tenth player overall to make the prestigious list.
The all-time record remains with Germany's Gyorgi Grozer at 39 points from his side's 3-2 win over Serbia at London 2012.
In serving, Poland's Wilfredo Leon raised the bar with most aces per set at any Olympic Games. The Cuba-born outside hitter served .74 aces per set (14 in total), bettering the previous high of .69 by Italy's Cristian Savani from London 2012.
In other individual scoring skills no records were broken at Tokyo 2020.
Most blocks in a single Olympic Games match remains 9 by Alexey Kuznetsov of Russia from Athens 2004 (with 22 in a team effort from Bulgaria against Japan at Beijing 2008).
And most aces in a match remain 7 by Cuba's Angel Denis from Sydney 2000, USA's Clayton Stanley from Beijing 2008 and Savani from London 2012 (the team record still standing at 12 by Brazil against Italy at Athens 2004 and by Russia against Germany at Beijing 2008).
Tokyo 2020, however, did produce the longest match in Olympic history since the introduction of the rally scoring system at Sydney 2000. Brazil and France battled it out for 2 hours 38 minutes in pool play to set the new duration record as the South Americans prevailed in five sets.
This includes the longest set ever, at 51 minutes as France edged Brazil 39-37 for the second (though the all-time record remains 40-38 from when Italy edged Argentina in the first of their three-set win at Sydney 2000).
In fact, going into Tokyo 2020 the duration record had been 2:16 from the USA v Greece (3-2) quarterfinal of Athens 2004 and the Russia v USA (3-2) pool play match of London 2012. Seven matches in total went over that 2:16 mark at Tokyo 2020 (though the absence of ball retrievers may have played a role).
Duration-wise, Tokyo 2020 also registered the longest tie-break since Sydney 2000, when Iran edged Poland 23-21 in that epic stunner of the opening day after 32 minutes. The previous record had been 31 minutes from when Brazil beat Italy 33-31 in the fifth set of their pool play match at Athens 2004.
But Tokyo 2020 also saw the most points ever scored in a single match from that Brazil v France pool phase game: a total of 249 (128 from France plus 121 from Brazil) to improve on the 241 points from the Italy v Yugoslavia pool play match of Sydney 2000.
All records are since the introduction of the rally scoring system, as of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.