Top of the World

Looking back three years to when a pair of Nittany Lions helped the United States earn its first Olympic gold medal in women’s indoor volleyball.

side by side photos of women's volleyball team players Haleigh Washington and Micha Hancock by Mark Selders/Penn State Athletics


Three years ago in Tokyo, the United States earned its first Olympic gold medal in women’s indoor volleyball, with a pair of Nittany Lions playing key roles in their Olympic debuts. Haleigh Washington ’17 Lib  (No. 15, left) had five kills and three blocks in the three-set sweep of Brazil in the final and was named best middle blocker of the tournament, while former teammate Micha Hancock ’14 Lib (No. 12) filled in for an injured starter in a pair of matches as the U.S. team won their final five after a loss to Russia in pool play. At press time, they were among the alums vying for roster spots to help the U.S. defend its gold at the 2024 Games in Paris this summer.