U.S. Olympic women’s water polo squad set, eyes another gold medal

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The world’s toughest water polo roster to make is set. USA Water Polo announced its 13-member Olympic women’s team Thursday.

The U.S. women are the defending Olympic champions, and have won a medal at every Olympic water polo event. The squad won silver in 2000, bronze in 2004 and silver again in 2008, before gold in 2012.

Entering the 2016 Games, the Americans hold the World Championship, World Cup and World League titles as well, making them the first nation to carry all four major championships at the same time since women’s water polo became an Olympic sport in 2000.

Headlining the roster is Maggie Steffens, a two-time FINA World Player of the Year and the 2012 Olympic tournament MVP. She led all scorers in London with 21 goals while competing as the youngest player on her squad. Later that year she earned her first Player of the Year honor; two years later she became the first woman to receive the award twice.

She’s now the U.S. team’s leader and captain at 23 years old.

It’s one of the youngest rosters the U.S. has ever assembled. It features no one in their 30s, which is a first for any U.S. Olympic men’s or women’s water polo team since 1972, according to sports-reference.com.

The youngest member of the squad is 17-year-old Aria Fischer, who becomes the youngest U.S. Olympic water polo player since 1964, and youngest-ever U.S. Olympic women’s water polo player, according to sports-reference.com. She’s joined on the squad by her older sister, Makenzie, who’s 19. Their father, Erich, was a member of the U.S. men’s water polo team that placed fourth at the 1992 Olympics.

Another teenager is Maddie Musselman, who received an Olympic berth on her 18th birthday.

The oldest woman on this squad is Courtney Mathewson at 29, who was also a part of the gold-medal winning 2012 team. Kami Craig, who will turn 29 on July 21, is the team’s most experienced player, as Rio will mark her third Olympics. Melissa Seidemann is the only other woman from the 2012 Olympic team.

In goal for the Americans will be Ashleigh Johnson, a 21-year-old who will become the first black woman to play water polo for the U.S. Olympic team. She’s also the only player on the roster not from California; Johnson is a Florida native. The other goalie is Sami Hill.

Rounding out the squad are KK Clark, Rachel Fattal, Kiley Neushul and Kaleigh Gilchrist, who hopes to be a surfer at the 2020 Olympics.

MORE: U.S. women’s water polo team qualifies for Rio Olympics

Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final