|Date||11 – 21 August 2008|
|Location||Yingdong Youyongguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing|
|Participants||103 from 8 countries|
|Format||Round-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.
|Mieke Cabout • Daniëlle de Bruijn • Rianne Guichelaar • Biurakn Hakhverdian • Noeki Klein • Simone Koot • Alette Sijbring • Yasemin Smit • Iefke van Belkum • Gillian van den Berg • Marieke van den Ham • Ilse van der Meijden|
|Betsey Armstrong • Patty Cardenas • Kami Craig • Natalie Golda • Alison Gregorka • Brittany Hayes • Jaime Hipp • Heather Petri • Jessica Steffens • Moriah Van Norman • Brenda Villa • Lauren Wenger • Elsie Windes|
|Gemma Beadsworth • Nikita Cuffe • Suzie Fraser • Taniele Gofers • Kate Gynther • Amy Hetzel • Bronwen Knox • Emma Knox • Alicia McCormack • Mel Rippon • Bec Rippon • Jenna Santoromito • Mia Santoromito|
|Fruzsina Brávik • Rita Drávucz • Anett Györe • Patrícia Horváth • Dóra Kisteleki • Anikó Pelle • Ágnes Primász • Mercédesz Stieber • Krisztina Szremkó • Orsolya Takács • Ágnes Valkai • Krisztina Zantleitner • Ildikó Sós Zirigh|
|5||People's Republic of China||CHN|
|Gao Ao • He Jin • Liu Ping • Ma Huanhuan • Qiao Leiying • Sun Huizi • Sun Yating • Sun Yujun • Tan Ying • Teng Fei • Wang Yi • Wang Ying • Yang Jun|
|Silvia Bosurgi • Chiara Brancati • Elisa Casanova • Tania Di Mario • Teresa Frassinetti • Elena Gigli • Martina Miceli • Maddalena Musumeci • Francesca Pavan • Cinzia Ragusa • Federica Rocco • Erzsébet Valkay • Emanuela Zanchi|
|Olga Belyayeva • Nadezhda Glyzina • Oleksandra Karpovich • Sofya Konukh • Yekaterina Pantyulina • Yekaterina Prokofyeva • Yevgeniya Protsenko • Nataliya Shepelina • Yelena Smurova • Yevgeniya Soboleva • Olga Turova • Valentina Vorontsova • Alyona Vylegzhanina|
|Stavroula Antonakou • Alexandra Asimaki • Georgia Ellinaki • Angeliki Gerolymou • Sofia Iosifidou • Voula Kozomboli • Georgia Lara • Kiki Liosi • Evi Moraitidou • Katerina Oikonomopoulou • Antigoni Roumbesi • Khristina Tsoukala • Maria Tsouri|
|3||People's Republic of China||CHN||1||0||2||2||33||33|
|Match #1||ITA||9 – 8||RUS|
|Match #2||USA||12 – 11||CHN|
|Match #3||ITA||9 – 9||USA|
|Match #4||CHN||13 – 11||RUS|
|Match #5||USA||12 – 7||RUS|
|Match #6||ITA||10 – 9||CHN|
|Match #1||HUN||11 – 9||NED|
|Match #2||AUS||8 – 6||GRE|
|Match #3||AUS||7 – 7||HUN|
|Match #4||NED||9 – 6||GRE|
|Match #5||AUS||10 – 9||NED|
|Match #6||HUN||10 – 4||GRE|
Winners of each match advanced to semi-finals.
|Match #1||AUS||12 – 11||CHN|
|Match #2||NED||13 – 11||ITA|
Winners of each match advanced to finals.
|Match #1||USA||9 – 8||AUS|
|Match #2||NED||8 – 7||HUN|
|Match 1/2||NED||9 – 8||USA|
|Match 3/4||AUS||12 – 11||HUN|
|Match 5/6||CHN||10 – 7||ITA|
|Match 7/8||RUS||12 – 6||GRE|