Tiger Who?

Hungarians Too Tough in Threepeat

The US mens’ water polo team finally fell back to earth on the final day of the Beijing Games, hanging with the vaunted Hungarians for a half before the two-time defending Olympic champs finally pulled away in the second to win 14-10. Despite the loss, this tournament was a huge success for the American men, who grace the medal stand for the first time since current coach Terry Schroeder was suiting up in 1988.

After a 20 year drought of its own, Hungary has now claimed the last three Olympic goal medals, cementing Hungary’s position as the absolute bosom of water polo. Not given a serious chance of medaling by the world polo powers coming into the Olympics, the ninth-ranked Americans certainly made it clear why it’s important to actually play the games. Putting away the likes of Italy and Germany is one thing, and those wins alone would have made this a respectable Olympics for the Americans. But downing Croatia and Serbia — that rocks the very foundations of the European water polo tradition.

With any luck, this performance will help to extricate the USOC’s head, currently stuck in its ass. That august organization allegedly cut the water polo team’s funding — if I heard Wolf Wigo and Generic Sports Announcer’s conversation accurately during the broadcast of the gold-medal game. Throw us a friggin’ bone here.

Congratulations to the team on a magical run. Welcome back to the world’s top tier. Strange things happen when you turn huge brass into solid silver.


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