Manuel Estiarte: “Going to the Closing Ceremony as Olympic champions was incredible”

Water polo player Manuel Estiarte represented Spain at six editions of the Olympic Games, in 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000, winning silver in 1992 and gold in 1996. And in Sydney in 2000, he carried his nation’s flag at the Opening Ceremony.

Picture by IOC

My first Olympic Games were in Moscow in 1980 and it was an absolute dream come true to be there. I come from a humble family in Spain and so just to participate in the Olympic Games was an amazing thing. What is even more remarkable is that my sister had already competed in an Olympics - she was in the Spanish team for the Montreal Olympics in 1976 so for me to emulate her was very special.

In 1980, I did not have any lofty ambitions - I did not expect to go to Moscow and win a gold medal or anything like that, so to just be at the Games was an absolute privilege. I was so proud to be at the Opening Ceremony in Moscow as part of the Spanish delegation and even now, I can still remember how I felt – I felt like I was living my dream.