We are 66 days to go to Rio and I’m feeling it’s time for some more counting down. In the last week there has been a flurry of qualifying and “warm up” tournaments in many sports. On my radar this week is water polo and the Aussie Stingers. TOUGH sport. Some nasty stuff can go on beneath the surface and the strength and stamina required to play elite water polo – I can only imagine.
Do you remember when the Aussie women won their home gold medal in Sydney 2000 scoring with 1.2 sec on the clock? It was the Olympic debut of women’s water polo and a win that probably inspired the next era of Stingers. The women’s team has competed in all 4 Olympics winning 1 gold and 2 bronze and are medal contenders again in Rio. Aussie captain Bronwen Knox will join Gemma Beadsworth as a triple Olympian. Who else to watch – the USA are consistent medallists and the Aussie ladies are touring the US right now pre Olympics.
But let’s go back a step and wrap up what you need to know to be an armchair expert come August. Eight teams. Round robin. Top 4 through to medal rounds. Teams of 7 in the pool. 6 subs. 8 minute quarters. No touching the sides or bottom of the pool ladies! And here’s the killer – only 30 secs to score then you can hand the ball over thanks very much.
3 weeks ago in the media the Stingers coach Greg McFadden rated the team as the best he has ever seen. No pressure…. but it should be fascinating to watch the team fight for gold in Rio.