Hello my water polo and pistachio friends, I’m writing to you just as our team is about to take off to London for a test event! This is a really exciting opportunity for us as we’ll get to play a series of games in the Olympic venue where we’ll be competing in August. Also, we’ll get a chance to play Great Britain, a team we have never seen before. In addition to playing these games—we’ll also see Hungary and Australia, two longtime opponents—we’ll get a chance to tour some of the facilities we’ll use later this summer, as well as do some sight-seeing around town. I’ve never been to London before, so I am really looking forward to seeing Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the London Bridge and maybe even the Tower of London—there is just so much history in that city!
In some other exciting water polo news since I’ve last updated, the line-up for the Olympic tournament this summer has been finalized. This summer we will be facing: Great Britain, Hungary, Australia, China, Russia, Spain and Italy. What many fans might not realize is how competitive it is to actually get into the Olympic tournament (although you might remember our 5-round shoot out to clinch our spot last fall at the Pan American Games!). Different from a World Championships, where there are sixteen teams competing, in the Olympic Games there are only eight teams—leaving out several of the top teams in the world. The teams that didn’t make the tournament this time are Greece (the 2011 World Champions), Holland (the 2008 Gold Medalist country) and Canada (a team which as you know typically will play us within one goal). So as you can see, it is rather difficult to secure a spot every four years.
Lastly, we just passed the 100 day marker to the start of the Games! I was lucky enough to participate in a celebratory event put on by the US Olympic Committee to build up some excitement for the upcoming summer. Best of all, this event took place in New York’s Times Square—so we got a lot of people involved. Tons of athletes were there staging demos—fencing, BMX cycling, sitting volleyball, rhythmic gymnastics to name a few. Tons of sponsors had booths set up with information and samples, there was a huge double-decker bus with a real British guard standing watch (a beefeater I believe they are called?), and lots of interviews and autograph signings going on all day. And now you all know we are officially under 90 days away now!