#1 Post – Rio Wrap

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games proved to be what we long suspected…challenging.

While the results of our men’s and women’s team are there in the history books, the story of what took place has a little more to it then just a number next to the name Australia.

Without a doubt we are disappointed in the outcome but in no way of the effort, dedication, commitment and conduct of our players, coaches and support staff that wore the green and gold. Their spirit and resilience in difficult circumstances as our medal hopes were dashed demonstrated how far we have come in many ways this past four years. Thank you to all of our program partners and stakeholders who have made a valuable contribution to what has been achieved during this time.

We are committed to working with the AIS and the AWE strategy as we progress our planning with our other stakeholders for 2020 and beyond.

The emotion was, and to a degree is still raw, and the questions are being asked as to why we were capable of playing our best water polo in some moments and games, yet at other times well below the standards we set ourselves…it is an interesting paradox and unfortunately our best came at the wrong times of the tournament.

The process of debriefing the Rio cycle and the Games themselves is underway but will be well considered in the coming months as we reflect on what was a common trend across sports in particular Australian teams.

The task ahead to reaffirm our vision of becoming the best nation in the world and building a national program and teams capable of achieving this aspiration will be challenging, of that there is no doubt. However, our commitment to ensuring we capitalise and grow on the resources available and use every last one in the most strategic way is paramount. We will need a collective approach from the very top down, across all our stakeholders, aligned and united so that we do not experience the feeling of Rio again.

Personally, I’m extremely proud of the wonderful ambassadors our sport had representing us in Rio. They have given every last ounce of energy, sacrifice and commitment to the cause and are worthy of forever being called Olympians.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention and thank the hundreds of family and friends that made their way to Rio in support of our teams. They were one of the largest Aussie contingents of any sport and by far the loudest and proudest. Your patience in this marvellous, yet challenging environment and unwavering confidence and support was truly humbling. It is a fantastic reflection of what the Australian water polo community is all about and the passion for the sport it possesses.

So as time comes to an end for the Rio cycle, we look ahead to the future, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in 1413 days time. The first major stop will be the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, only some 305 days away. It is a place we are all too familiar, as is Tokyo, the land of the rising sun, and while our results may not have shown it, we are going to be well placed in another four years based on the tremendous work and progress we have made since London. In the words of the former Governor of California…we will be back!

In closing, I’d like to congratulate the B98 men’s team on some great performances at the Youth World Championships in Montenegro and wish our B98 women all the best for later this year. You are part of our next generation whose energy, hunger and drive we need to become the best.

Tom Hill

WPA High Performance Manager