The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Water polo in the Olympics

A waterfall of facts
Water Polo during the 2012 London Olympics. Polo match – 2012 Olympics by Matt Brown is licensed under the CC By 2.0 Deed.

Ever since 1900, the Olympics have hosted the classic Olympic sport known as Water Polo, with Women’s Water Polo being introduced in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Originating in England and Scotland, water polo has evolved greatly over the years. The American style of water polo has been described as an old style of the sport ‘rugby,’ which is described as American football in water, with six people playing the water polo field at a time. At the games’ earliest time, the rules allowed players to hold their opponents underwater as well as wrestling them to acquire the ball. The goalie stood outside of the playing area and defended the goal by jumping in on any opponent attempting to score by placing the ball on the deck and out of reach.

By the year 1888, the games had left their home countries of England and Scotland and made their way all the way to the United States thanks to John Robinson, an English swimming instructor. Over the years, the rules of water polo have changed. For example, the original rule was that during a pass, the ball had to first touch the water, then be retrieved by a player. Now, the rule is that a player can conduct what is known as a ‘dry pass,’ where the players can throw the ball in the air and let the receiver catch it without the ball ever touching the water.

The most famous water polo games in history come from the 1956 Olympic games, which was played between the Soviet Union and Hungary. This match is also known as the “Blood in the Water’ match, which became so bloody and violent that eventually, officials called it off. Hungary was later declared the winner, and currently holds the record of the most medals in Olympic water polo history to this day. The United States is the only non-European team in the modern era to win Olympic medals in water polo. From the years 2012 to 2020, the U.S. women’s team has achieved a total of three consecutive gold medals, becoming the first women’s water polo team with an Olympic winning streak.

Story continues below advertisement


Fun water polo facts:

  • Johnny Weissmuller took up swimming in an attempt to build stamina after contracting polio as a youngster. He won five Olympic gold medals before finding Hollywood stardom.
  • Ashleigh Johnson was the first black athlete to make the US Olympic women’s water polo team, helping Team USA win the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic games.

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Captain's Log

Your donation will support the student journalists of Christopher Newport University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lindsay Deyton, Digital Media Manager
Donate to The Captain's Log

Comments (1)

All The Captain's Log Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    anonymousApr 2, 2024 at 6:41 pm

    I love Lindsay Deyton