Born: December 18, 1968 in Cuba
Category: Female Indoor Player
Magaly Carvajal was a dominating middle blocker standing out among a physically dominating Cuban team during the 1990s.
Magaly is regarded as one of the best blockers of all-time and a huge part of Cuba’s Olympic success in the 1990s. At 6-foot-3 or 190 centimeters tall, she used an 11-foot vertical jump touch rivaled only by teammate Mireya Luis, who was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2004. Aside from her stellar blocking and hitting, opponents often were intimidated simply by her stare through the net often termed as the “the look of death.”
From a period starting with the 1989 FIVB World Cup to the 1996 Olympic Games, Cuba missed out on winning the gold in just one major competition. Magaly was a major part of Cuba’s gold medals won at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and the 1996 Olympic Games won in Atlanta.
As a 23-year-old, Magaly helped Cuba go undefeated at the 1992 Olympics. Cuba was challenged by the United States with a five-set victory in the semifinals before winning the gold in four sets over the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as the former USSR was then known.
During the 1996 Olympic Games, Cuba overcame a 2-2 record in pool play with losses to Brazil and Russia by defeating the United States in the quarterfinals. During the semifinal round, Cuba avenged its pool loss to Brazil with an exciting five-set victory. Cuba defeated China in four sets in the title match to win its second consecutive Olympic gold medal. Following the 1996 Olympic Games, Magaly was named as one of the top three players in the world.
While the Olympic Games success brought Cuba worldwide acclaim for winning gold medals, other titles helped build the Cuban volleyball reputation as a true dynasty. Magaly helped pace Cuba to the gold medal at the 1994 FIVB World Championship. She also collected three FIVB World Cup gold medals in 1989, 1991 and 1995. The only major event that escaped her reach was the 1990 FIVB World Championship in which Cuba finished off the podium in fourth place.
As a naturalized citizen of Spain in 1998, Magaly competed on Spain’s national team in 2001 and 2002. In addition, she became a dominant player in the Spanish professional volleyball league. She helped Spar Tenerife Marichal to the European Champions League title in 2003-04. In September of 2010, she agreed to serve as player/coach for Feel Volley Alcobendas in Spain’s Superliga second division.