Defending champion Cuba will be the heavy favorite Saturday when it starts the women’s Olympic volleyball tournament against Germany.
Cuba defeated Russia in five sets in the gold medal match at Sydney in 2000 to win the Olympic tourney for the third straight time.
Although Cuba will be difficult to beat, that country is not ranked No. 1 in the world coming into the Olympics.
China tops the world rankings and the United States is second. Those two teams will meet in the last of the six opening-day matches.
The American women finished fourth in Sydney, losing the bronze medal match to Brazil.
In other first-day matches, it will be the Domnican Republic vs. Russia, Japan vs. Brazil, Greece vs. Kenya and South Korea vs. Italy.