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.