Former college water polo sensations Tony Azevedo and Ryan Bailey will be going to their fourth Olympics. After qualifying for the U.S. team, Azevedo and Bailey made Olympic history. The Olympic water polo event has never had a player compete in four different Olympics.
The coach of the Olympic team, Terry Schroeder, announced the Olympic roster on Monday.
Other Players from California
Along with Azevedo and Bailey, four other players from the Bay Area will be headed to the 2012 London Olympics. The other four players are John Mann, Peter Varellas, Layne Beaubien and Peter Hudnut. In 2008, four of the six Bay area players managed to take the United States men's water polo team to the Olympics. This year, they will return yet again in an attempt to take home an Olympic gold medal.
Bailey and Azevedo: A Golden Team
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Anthony Azevedo began his rise to fame during his years at Stanford University. After moving to the United States at one month of age, Azevedo began playing water polo for his high school team. By the time he graduated, he had won four separate California Interscholastic Federation championships for water polo. He followed his years of high school success with two NCAA championships. Afterward, Azevedo signed a contract to play professional water polo in Italy. As the current captain of the United States national team, Azevedo is ready to lead the team to success.
Unlike Azevedo, Ryan Bailey spent his college years at University of California at Irvine. This star center played in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At the 2010 FINA World Cup, Bailey scored an impressive 12 goals. As one of the top centers in water polo, Bailey took home silver medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2008 FINA World League Super Final. Bailey also holds the distinction of having the fastest recorded shot of any player on the United States Olympic team.
Like many United States water polo players, Azevedo and Bailey both hail from California. As the Olympic Games begin, these two players will be the people to watch at the 2012 London Olympics. With Hungary holding the last three Olympic wins, the United States team needs all the help they can get to take home an Olympic gold medal. The last time the United States brought home a gold medal in the Olympic water polo competition was in 1904. After 100 years without a win, perhaps it is time for the United States to start its path towards victory.Sources: USA Water Polo, Mercury News
Courtney Crass is an avid swimmer, water polo player and runner. After competing on her college water polo and swim team, she started working as a volunteer coach to share her love of water sports with youth in her area.