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Water Polo, Men

Date22 – 29 August 1920
StatusOlympic
LocationZwemstadion van Antwerpen, Antwerpen
Participants101 from 12 countries
FormatSingle-elimination tournament. Modified Bergvall system for second- and third-place.

In water polo, Belgium narrowly defeated The Netherlands and Sweden in getting to the final, while Great Britain made their way laughingly to the finals. Still, the nationalistic Belgian fans expected a hometown victory. The match was closely contested, with Britain eventually winning 3-2. Britain scored first, with Billy Dean recording the opening goal. But Belgium then took a 2-1 lead on two goals by Maurice Blitz. Britain tied the score at the half with another goal by Dean. In the second half, Paul Radmilovic of Britain scored the only goal, which proved to be the winning margin. The Belgian fans were quite unhappy and attempted to attack the British players, who were led away under an armed guard.

This made the third consecutive gold medal for Great Britain in water polo, having also won the title in 1908 and 1912. They had also won the Olympic championship in 1900 at Paris. Two British players earned three gold medals from 1908-1920 - Charles Smith and Paul Radmilovic, while a third, Charles Bugbee, had played for Great Britain in both 1912 and 1920. Smith represented Salford Swim Club in 1908, but Southport Swim Club in 1912 and 1920. He was England’s goalkeeper in water polo for 25 years and also competed at the 1924 Olympics, in which Great Britain lost in the first round to Hungary. Bugbee was a City of London policeman who also competed in 1924.

In addition to his three water polo gold medals, Paul Radmilovic also swam on the British 4×200 freestyle relay team that won gold in 1908. Radmilovic competed in Olympic water polo again in 1924 and 1928. An excellent swimmer, he won his first national swimming title in 1901 and the last in 1929 and he won championships at distances from 100 yards to 5 miles. In 1967 he was the first Briton to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1Great BritainGBRGold
Charles SmithNoel PurcellChris JonesCharles BugbeeBilly DeanPaul RadmilovicBill Peacock
2BelgiumBELSilver
Albert DurantPaul GaillyPierre NijsJoseph PletincxMaurice BlitzRené BauwensGérard BlitzPierre Dewin
3SwedenSWEBronze
Theodor NaumanPontus HansonMax GumpelTorsten KumfeldtWille AnderssonNils BacklundRobert AnderssonErik AnderssonHarald JulinErik Bergqvist
=4BrazilBRA
Orlando Amêndola Mangangá ChocolateÂngelo GammaroJoão JórioAlcides PaivaAbrahão SalitureEdgard Leite
=4GreeceGRE
Pantelis PsykhasAndreas AsimakopoulosGeorgios PilavakhisKonstantinos NikolopoulosMikes TsamisAristidis RousiasSavvas MavridisDionysios VasilopoulosNikolaos Baltatzis-Mavrokordatos
6United StatesUSA
Preston SteigerSophus JensenMike McDermottClement BrowneHerb VollmerHarry HebnerJames CarsonWilliam VosburghHerbert TaylorPerry McGillivrayDuke KahanamokuNorman Ross
=7NetherlandsNED
Karel StruijsKarel KratzKarel MeijerGeorge CortleverPiet PlantingaGé BohlanderJean van SilfhoutPiet van der VeldenLeen Hoogendijk
=7SpainESP
Luis GibertAlfonso TusellRamón BerdomásManuel ArmanguéAntonio Vila-CoroFrancisco GibertEnrique GranadosJosé Fontanet
=9FranceFRA
Jean ThoraillerÉmile-Georges DrignyAlbert MayaudHenri Padou, Sr.Henri DuvanelMarcel HussaudPaul Vasseur
=9SwitzerlandSUI
Albert MondetCharles BieferCharles HornHenri DemiévilleJean JenniArmand BoppartRené Ricolfi-Doria
=11CzechoslovakiaTCH
František FraněkAntonín NovotnýVáclav LancingerEduard StiborHugo SedláčekEmil CirlFrantišek ČerníkJan Hora
=11ItalyITA
Salvatore CabellaErcole BoeroAmilcare BerettaLuigi BurlandoAchille OlivariAlberto LungaviaMario BoeroAngelo Vassallo

Round One (22 – 23 August 1920)

Single-elimination.

Match #1 1 ESP 21 – 1ITA
Match #2 SWE 11 – 0TCH
Match #3 BRA 5 – 1FRA
Match #4 BEL 11 – 0SUI
Match #5 3NED walkover

Quarter-Finals (24 August 1920)

Single-elimination.

Match #1 USA 7 – 0GRE
Match #2 GBR 9 – 0ESP
Match #3 SWE 7 – 3
1 Own Goal
BRA
Match #4 BEL 2 – 1NED

Semi-Finals (26 August 1920)

Single-elimination.

Match #1 GBR 7 – 2USA
Match #2 BEL 5 – 3SWE

Final Round (27 August 1920)

Medal round.

Match 1/2 GBR 3 – 2BEL

Third-Place Tournament (25 – 29 August 1920)

Single-elimination.

Match #1 GRE 5 – 1ITA
Match #2 NED 10 – 0TCH
Match #3 4USA walkover
Match #4 SWE 9 – 1NED
Match #5 SWE walkover

Consolation Round (28 – 29 August 1920)

Single-elimination.

Match #1 USA walkover
Match #2 BEL 7 – 2USA