RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Tony Azevedo of the USA in action during the USA vs Italy Waterpolo group match at Julio de Lamare Aquatics Centre on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
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Tony Azevedo retires after 5 Olympics in water polo

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Tony Azevedo is ending one of the greatest water polo careers in U.S. history, retiring after a record five Olympics at age 35.

Azevedo, the first American to play in five Olympic water polo tournaments, said it was a tough decision but a necessary one to spend time with his family — wife Sara and two kids, according to the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram.

“The traveling and everything for them would be too much,” said Azevedo, who has a 3-year-old boy and a girl born after the Rio Olympics. “It’s time.”

Azevedo was a teenage prodigy dubbed the “Kobe Bryant of water polo.” A ball boy at the 1996 Olympics, Azevedo made a list of about 13 goals as a “slow, fat, chubby kid” who wanted to start on his high school team.

He reached all of those goals except for one — a gold medal. Azevedo made his Olympic debut out of high school in 2000 and then helped lead the U.S. to silver at Beijing 2008, his lone Olympic or world championships medal in 13 combined appearances. He led the U.S. in goals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

“If anyone asks, am I going to miss the swimming? No. Am I going to miss the games? No. Are you going to miss the Olympics? No,” Azevedo said. “I’m going to miss those days of grinding with your teammates.”

Azevedo was one of the top U.S. stories of the Rio Olympics, since he was born in the Brazilian city and lived there for 23 days before moving to Southern California. Azevedo, whose father was a Brazilian national team member, played for a Sao Paulo club team for much of the past Olympic cycle.

The U.S. went 2-3 in Rio, failing to advance out of group play.

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WATCH: Top water polo moments of the Rio Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 19:  Adam Krikorian, coach of the United States, has gold medals placed over his head after winning the Women's Water Polo Gold Medal Classification match between the United States and Italy on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
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The U.S. women and Serbian men’s water polo teams came to the Rio Games as the undisputed favorites to take home the gold, and in the end both teams proved why.

The American women outscored their opponents by 41 goals in the six games they ran through, trailing for a total of 44 seconds in the entire games.

The win was especially special for U.S. head coach Adam Krikorian, who lost his brother just two days before the Opening Ceremonies. Krikorian flew to California and returned the day before the women began play. In the end, his team hung all of their gold medals around Krikorian’s neck as a sign appreciation for their strong leader.

Serbia wasn’t quite as dominant throughout, starting the Games 0-1-2 and on the verge of missing the quarterfinals. But the Serbians proved it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. They won their last five games by an average of seven goals on their way to the first gold medal in the nation’s history.

Serbia’s lone loss came to Brazil, who looked to be a Cinderella story in the making, starting the game on their home soil 3-0, delighting fans throughout the city. Brazil struggled the rest of the way, losing their final five games, but still proved that water polo could have a place, and definitely a fan base, in the country afterall.

Some other important moments from the Rio water polo pool can be seen here.

Serbia dethrones reigning Olympic champs, wins men’s water polo gold

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20:  Dusan Mandic #2 of Serbia celebrates winning 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.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
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Four years after winning their first men’s water polo gold medal as an independent nation, Croatia was unable to continue their reign.

Serbia, led by Dusan Mandic’s four goals and 12 saves by goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic, took gold with an 11-7 victory in the gold medal match. For Serbia this is their first Olympic gold medal in men’s water polo as an independent nation, giving the nation a total of two Olympic gold medals in its history.

WATCH: Serbia defeats Croatia for Olympic gold

Serbia has now won a medal in each of the last four Olympics, taking silver in 2004 (as Serbia and Montenegro) and bronze in both 2008 and 2012.

After a Damir Buric goal trimmed Serbia’s lead to 6-4 early in the third quarter, Filip Filipovic scored two unanswered goals to extend their lead back out to four. Serbia’s lead from that point forward would be no less than three goals, with Mandic scoring his fourth goal with 3:29 remaining to give them an 11-6 lead. A goal scored by Croatia’s Javier Garcia Gadea with 2:06 remaining provided the final score.

WATCH: The best moments of the Olympic water polo competition

Italy took bronze with a 12-10 win over Montenegro, with the Italians now having won a medal in each of the last two Olympics (silver in 2012).