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Water Polo


Water polo developed into different forms in the United States and Europe. The European game is now universally accepted.

Tough beginnings

Water polo is a tough sport, but when it first began it was even tougher. Fighting between players was common, if not the norm. In 1897, New Yorker Harold Reeder formulated the first American rules for discipline, which were aimed at curbing the sport’s more violent tendencies.

Naming the game

In the early days, the players rode on floating barrels that resembled mock horses, and swung at the ball with mallet-like sticks. This made it similar to equestrian polo, hence its name. In the United States it was termed softball water polo due to the use of an unfilled bladder as a ball.

Current sport

Water polo was developed in Europe and the United States as two differing sports. Ultimately, the faster, less dangerous European style predominated, and today this is the form of the game practised universally. It consists of seven-man teams playing four eight-minute periods.

Olympic history

Water polo made its Olympic debut at the Paris Games in 1900. It was not included in 1904 but would be present at each subsequent edition of the Olympic Games.
Since then, the Hungarians have been by far the greatest ambassadors of this discipline. Between 1928 and 1980, they won medals at every Games. Between 1932 and 1976, they even won six of the 10 gold medals available.

In 2000 in Sydney, Hungary make a remarkable comeback, winning its seventh gold medal in water polo. In the same year, women’s water polo made its first official appearance at the Olympic Games, 100 years after the debut of this discipline.

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Gallery

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Swimming with Tarzan | Paris 1924

Duke Kahanamoku vs. Johnny Weissmuller: a rivalry that stared in the pool in Paris 1924 and transcended to the silver screen.
IOC
Water Polo - Men
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Water Polo - Men

Andrija Prlainovic #11 of Serbia and Marko Macan #12 of Croatia compete during the Men's Water Polo Gold Medal match between Croatia and Serbia on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Water Polo - Men
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Water Polo - Men

Christian Presciutti of Italy shoots during the Men's Water Polo Bronze Medal match between the Montenegro and Italy on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Water Polo - Men
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Water Polo - Men

Antonio Petrovic of Montenegro controls of the ball during the Men's Water Polo Bronze Medal match between the Montenegro and Italy on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Water Polo - Men
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Water Polo - Men

Marko Macan #12 of Croatia throws the ball during the Men's Water Polo Gold Medal match between Croatia and Serbia on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
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https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/2016/08/rio/20/water-polo-men/water-polo-men_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Water Polo Men - Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Highlights of the Water Polo Men on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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