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| Event type

Water Polo, Women

Date11 – 21 August 2008
StatusOlympic
LocationYingdong Youyongguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing
Participants103 from 8 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.

The United States was the World Champion and World Cup champion coming into the Olympics, having defeated their arch-rival, Australia, in the final match of the 2007 World Championship and 2006 World Cup. The USA had been world silver medalist in 2005, losing in the finals to Hungary. Defending Olympic champion Italy, also the 2001 World Champion, had somewhat fallen from their perch, not making the podium in either 2005 or 2007.

The United States and Hungary followed the seeding and won their group play, seeding directly into the semi-finals, as Greece and Russia were eliminated from medal contention. In the quarter-finals, Australia and the Netherlands moved on to the semis, defeating China and Italy, respectively. The USA met Australia in the semis, defeating them 9-8, while the Netherlands qualified for the final by defeating Hungary 8-7.

The final started out as a rout as the Netherlands went ahead, 4-0, the first two goals scored by their star, Daniëlle de Bruijn, but the USA fought back and tied the match, 5-5, at halftime. De Bruijn again scored the first two goals of the second half to give her team a 7-5 lead, but the Americans again clawed back, and tied it 8-8, when Moriah van Norman scored early in the fourth quarter. However, Daniëlle de Bruijn was the best player of the 2008 women’s tournament, and with only 26 seconds left on the clock, she scored again to give the Netherlands the 9-8 lead, with one US player in the sin bin, and the eventual gold medal. It was her seventh goal of the match, an Olympic record. Dutch goalie Ilse van der Meijden saved the gold medal for the Netherlands with two saves in the final 10 seconds of the match.

At three Olympic women’s water polo tournaments, the USA had medalled each time but had yet to win the gold medal. De Bruijn was the leading scorer of the 2008 women’s event, scoring 17 goals, including her seven in the final match. In the quarter-final match between Italy and the Netherlands, Hungary’s Ágnes Valkai faced her sister, Erzsébet Valkai, who had played for Hungary in 2004, but by 2008 was representing Italy, having married Italian volleyballer Roberto Vestuto.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1NetherlandsNEDGold
Mieke CaboutDaniëlle de BruijnRianne GuichelaarBiurakn HakhverdianNoeki KleinSimone KootAlette SijbringYasemin SmitIefke van BelkumGillian van den BergMarieke van den HamIlse van der Meijden
2United StatesUSASilver
Betsey ArmstrongPatty CardenasKami CraigNatalie GoldaAlison GregorkaBrittany HayesJaime HippHeather PetriJessica SteffensMoriah Van NormanBrenda VillaLauren WengerElsie Windes
3AustraliaAUSBronze
Gemma BeadsworthNikita CuffeSuzie FraserTaniele GofersKate GyntherAmy HetzelBronwen KnoxEmma KnoxAlicia McCormackMel RipponBec RipponJenna SantoromitoMia Santoromito
4HungaryHUN
Fruzsina BrávikRita DrávuczAnett GyörePatrícia HorváthDóra KistelekiAnikó PelleÁgnes PrimászMercédesz StieberKrisztina SzremkóOrsolya TakácsÁgnes ValkaiKrisztina ZantleitnerIldikó Sós Zirigh
5People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Gao AoHe JinLiu PingMa HuanhuanQiao LeiyingSun HuiziSun YatingSun YujunTan YingTeng FeiWang YiWang YingYang Jun
6ItalyITA
Silvia BosurgiChiara BrancatiElisa CasanovaTania Di MarioTeresa FrassinettiElena GigliMartina MiceliMaddalena MusumeciFrancesca PavanCinzia RagusaFederica RoccoErzsébet ValkayEmanuela Zanchi
7Russian FederationRUS
Olga BelyayevaNadezhda GlyzinaOleksandra KarpovichSofya KonukhYekaterina PantyulinaYekaterina ProkofyevaYevgeniya ProtsenkoNataliya ShepelinaYelena SmurovaYevgeniya SobolevaOlga TurovaValentina VorontsovaAlyona Vylegzhanina
8GreeceGRE
Stavroula AntonakouAlexandra AsimakiGeorgia EllinakiAngeliki GerolymouSofia IosifidouVoula KozomboliGeorgia LaraKiki LiosiEvi MoraitidouKaterina OikonomopoulouAntigoni RoumbesiKhristina TsoukalaMaria Tsouri

Preliminary Round (11 – 15 August 2008)

Group A (11 – 15 August 2008)

Round-robin pool.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsTiesLossesPointsGoals ForGA
1United StatesUSA21053327
2ItalyITA21052826
3People's Republic of ChinaCHN10223333
4Russian FederationRUS00302634

Match #1 ITA 9 – 8RUS
Match #2 USA 12 – 11CHN
Match #3 ITA 9 – 9USA
Match #4 CHN 13 – 11RUS
Match #5 USA 12 – 7RUS
Match #6 ITA 10 – 9CHN

Group B (11 – 15 August 2008)

Round-robin pool.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsTiesLossesPointsGoals ForGA
1HungaryHUN21052820
2AustraliaAUS21052522
3NetherlandsNED10222727
4GreeceGRE00301627

Match #1 HUN 11 – 9NED
Match #2 AUS 8 – 6GRE
Match #3 AUS 7 – 7HUN
Match #4 NED 9 – 6GRE
Match #5 AUS 10 – 9NED
Match #6 HUN 10 – 4GRE

Quarter-Finals (17 August 2008)

Winners of each match advanced to semi-finals.

Match #1 AUS 12 – 11CHN
Match #2 NED 13 – 11ITA

Semi-Finals (19 August 2008)

Winners of each match advanced to finals.

Match #1 USA 9 – 8AUS
Match #2 NED 8 – 7HUN

Final Round (17 – 21 August 2008)

Classification round.

Match 1/2 NED 9 – 8USA
Match 3/4 AUS 12 – 11HUN
Match 5/6 CHN 10 – 7ITA
Match 7/8 RUS 12 – 6GRE