Born: March 28, 1948 in Volkhov, Leningrad Oblast (Russia)
Category: Female Indoor Player
Nina Smoleeva is one of the most talented players to step on the court for the Soviet Union. Representing the country in three consecutive Olympic Games, Smoleeva netted the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and four years later at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. She also led her team to the silver medal in 1976 at the Olympics in Montreal.
Among the other highlights from her more than 10 years of international competition are a gold medal from the 1970 World Championships, a gold medal at the 1973 World Cup and a bronze medal from the 1978 World Championships.
Smoleeva also took home the gold medal from the European Championships in 1969, 1971, 1975, 1976 and 1977. At the European Championship Cup, Smoleeva led her nation to the gold medal six times - 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975 and again in 1977.
In the national championships, she led the Dinamo club of Moscow to gold in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976 and 1977. Her team also rallied for the bronze medals at the championship in 1969, 1978 and 1979.
For her remarkable accomplishments in volleyball throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Smoleeva was recognized with countless awards including her country's Badge of Honor. She is currently passing on her enthusiasm for the sport by coaching.