Born: June 15, 1944 in Baku, Azerbaijan
Category: Female Indoor Player
Inna Ryskal had a long and eventful career with the women's National Team of the former USSR. She played in four Olympiads and brought home four medals, two silver and two gold. As of 2000, no other volleyball player in the world had matched these accomplishments.
Ryskal started playing volleyball, along with track and field athletics, at the age of 12. Coached by Shamil Shamkhalov, later coach of the Women's National Team, she found that volleyball was her destiny. In 1960 at the age of 15 she was invited to play with the Women's Junior National Team. She moved up to the Women's National Team in 1961 and played with the National Team through the 1976 Olympic Games.
The Russian strategy was based on pure power and Ryskal was the power hitter of the team, earning her the nickname "Kaspiiskaia Thunderstorm".
A practiced and dependable player who would consistently overpower her opponents, she played in countless International Tournaments. The results were consistent too, with the team taking first place in her very first tournament in 1961, and going on to many more over her years on the National Team.
She won gold medals at the European Championships in 1963, 1967 and 1971. She won silver medals at the World Championships in 1962 and 1974, a gold medal in 1970 and also won a gold medal at the World Cup in 1973. However, her greatest accomplishment was four consecutive appearances at the Olympics Games in 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976. During that span, she won four consecutive medals - silver in 1964, gold in 1968, gold in 1972 and silver in 1976.
Ryskal was awarded the titles of Master of Sports in 1962, Master of Sports of International Class in 1965 and Honored Master of Sports in 1968. She was also awarded the Medal for Labor Valor and Order of the Red Banner of Labor by the USSR.
She retired in 1978 from the National Team to work with sports organizations, serving as Director of the Sports Palace "Yantar" and then President of the Sports Club.
Inna Ryskal is being inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame for an outstanding career and record as a volleyball player.