| Event type

Water Polo, Women

Date30 July – 9 August 2012
LocationWater Polo Arena, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Participants102 from 8 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.

Unusually the women’s tournament lacked the presence of both the world champions and the Olympic champions. Greece had won the 2011 world title but the champions were not guaranteed an Olympic title and so they had to make their way to the Games through the official Olympic qualifying tournament. A shock defeat to Spain in the quarter-final meant they would be kicking their heels at home at the time of the London Games. The Dutch team, which had won gold in Beijing, suffered an identical fate at the hands of an Italian team who had been their predecessors as Olympic champions.

Because of the format of the competition the group stage was only useful in determining the draw for the quarter-finals. Spain proved their performance in the qualifying tournament was no flash in the pan by winning their group in London while the other group was won by an impressive Australia team. Australia faltered in the knockout stages and, after surviving a shootout against China, fell in the semi-final to the USA. In contrast Spain continued on their winning ways and dispatched Great Britain and Hungary on their route to a rematch of a 9-9 tie they had with the Americans in the group stage.

Mid-way through the second quarter of the final, with the score tied at 2-2, Jessica Steffens set up a goal scoring chance for little sister Maggie Steffens which she duly converted. The younger Steffens blazed a trail of destruction on the Spaniards for the rest of the final and finished by scoring 5 of the American team’s goals in an 8-5 victory to ensure a first Olympic title for the US women. The USA had been among the favorites at each Olympics since the introduction of women’s water polo in 2000 but had been losing finalists in both 2000 and 2004 and bronze medalists in 2008. America had won 3 of the last 5 World Championships but ironically their first Olympic gold medal came after a sixth place finish at the 2011 Worlds – their worst performance in over a decade. The bronze medal in London was won by Australia with an overtime victory over Hungary.

1United StatesUSA5101158–48Gold
5People's Republic of ChinaCHN204470–74
6Russian FederationRUS303658–57
8Great BritainGBR006037–64

Preliminary Round (30 July – 3 August 2012)

Group A (30 July – 3 August 2012)

Round-robin pool.


Match #130 Jul 14:10ESP 11 – 6CHN
Match #230 Jul 19:40USA 14 – 13HUN
Match #301 Aug 14:10HUN 11 – 10CHN
Match #401 Aug 18:20ESP 9 – 9USA
Match #503 Aug 14:10ESP 13 – 11HUN
Match #603 Aug 19:40USA 7 – 6CHN

Group B (30 July – 3 August 2012)

Round-robin pool.


Match #130 Jul 18:20RUS 7 – 6GBR
Match #230 Jul 15:30AUS 10 – 8ITA
Match #301 Aug 19:40AUS 16 – 3GBR
Match #401 Aug 15:30RUS 7 – 4ITA
Match #503 Aug 18:20ITA 10 – 5GBR
Match #603 Aug 15:30AUS 11 – 8RUS

Quarter-Finals (5 August 2012)

Winners of each match advanced to semi-finals.

Match #105 Aug 16:10AUS 16 – 16
AET, 4-2 PS
Match #205 Aug 20:20ESP 9 – 7GBR
Match #305 Aug 19:00USA 9 – 6ITA
Match #405 Aug 14:50HUN 11 – 10RUS

Classification Round 5-8 (7 August 2012)

Match #107 Aug 14:10CHN 14 – 10ITA
Match #207 Aug 18:20RUS 11 – 9GBR

Semi-Finals (7 August 2012)

Winners of each match advanced to finals.

Match #107 Aug 15:30USA 11 – 9
Match #207 Aug 19:40ESP 10 – 9HUN

Final Round (9 August 2012)

Classification round.

Match 1/209 Aug 20:25USA 8 – 5ESP
Match 3/409 Aug 18:40AUS 13 – 11
Match 5/609 Aug 15:50CHN 16 – 15
Match 7/809 Aug 14:30ITA 11 – 7GBR