Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

1980 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team Reunion

Written by Laurel Brassey Iversen, member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Athlete Reunion took place in America’s Olympic City, Colorado Springs, over the weekend of Nov. 4. As a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, I had the pleasure of attending this event and reconnecting with my teammates and other Olympians and Paralympians. Let me share with you a glimpse of our memorable reunion.

A Special Bond: Training Together and Overcoming Disappointment

Our volleyball team has a unique connection. We were the first team to undergo year-round, full-time training in order to qualify for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. We were also the inaugural residents of the U.S. Olympic Training Center when it opened in 1978. Though the early days were challenging, with donated land and abandoned buildings from the U.S. Air Force, our perseverance paid off.

In April 1979, we qualified for the Olympic Games. However, due to the boycott, we did not have the opportunity to compete. Despite the disappointment, we believe that our shared experiences of living and training together during that time strengthened us both as individuals and as a team.

Colorado Springs: A City Tied to the Olympic Legacy

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Colorado Springs, known as America’s Olympic City, has deep connections to the world of athletics. It is home to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, the Olympic and Paralympic Museum, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, as well as many national governing bodies, including USA Volleyball.

Reunion Highlights: Hall of Fame Induction and Olympic Museum Visit

The reunion weekend was filled with exciting events. On Friday night, we attended the USOPC Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, where we celebrated the accomplishments of remarkable athletes such as Lisa Leslie, Apolo Anton Ohno, Tommy Smith, John Carlos, Nastia Liukin, Dara Torres, Candace Cable, and our own Misty May-Treanor. Their heartfelt and inspiring speeches captivated the audience of fellow Olympians and Paralympians.

On Saturday, we had the pleasure of visiting the Olympic and Paralympic Museum, which is currently under construction and set to open in mid-2020. From its vantage point, this beautiful museum offers breathtaking views of Pike’s Peak in the Rocky Mountains. We were also fortunate to meet a volunteer from Greece, adding an extra touch of connection to the Olympic spirit.

Inspiring the Next Generation: Young Champion Ambassadors

During our time at the museum, we had the opportunity to interact with Young Champion Ambassadors. This youth leadership program invites high school students from the region to participate in a unique curriculum that culminates in a trip to the birthplace of the Olympic and Paralympic movement in Ancient Olympia, Greece. These ambassadors learn valuable skills such as design thinking, public speaking, networking, and branding, all while immersing themselves in the rich history of the Olympics. It was heartening to witness the thriving atmosphere of Olympic education in Colorado.

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Looking Forward: The Olympic and Paralympic Museum

The new Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs is poised to be an incredible attraction. I am proud to see the innovative ideas they have in store for engaging visitors with the history and legacy of the Games. I eagerly await the completion of the museum and the opportunity to explore its exhibits.

Cherished Moments and Future Reunions

Our reunion weekend was not only filled with remarkable events but also with the joy of spending time with friends and teammates. From watching a captivating Olympic documentary to socializing in cozy sitting areas, we relished the chance to share stories and laughter.

As we bid farewell at the Sunday morning breakfast, we had a glimpse into the preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Games and the chance to select USA apparel from previous Games. The weekend concluded with a touching visit to the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, where we paid tribute to our teammate Flo Hyman, who passed away in 1986.

We ended our reunion with a BBQ at a teammate’s home, where we shared more stories and made plans for our next get-together. It is an honor to be part of this incredible group of talented and humble women, forever united as teammates and Olympians.


Coming soon!


The 1980 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team Reunion in Colorado Springs was a truly special event. It provided us with the opportunity to come together once again, celebrate our shared history, and create new memories. The city’s vibrant Olympic legacy, combined with the warmth and camaraderie of our team, made this reunion unforgettable. We look forward to future reunions, cherishing the bond that continues to unite us as teammates and friends. To learn more about our team and the amazing sport of volleyball, visit Alpinetgheep.

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