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Olympic DebutParis 1900
Most Gold MedalsHUN
Water Polo spotlight
Best of Tokyo 2020
Water polo is a tough sport, but when it first began, it was even tougher. Fighting between players was common, if not the norm. In 1897, New Yorker Harold Reeder formulated the first American rules for discipline, which were aimed at curbing the sport’s more violent tendencies.
Naming the Game
In the early days, the players rode on floating barrels that resembled mock horses, and swung at the ball with mallet-like sticks. This made it similar to equestrian polo, hence its name. In the United States, it was termed "softball water polo" due to the use of an unfilled bladder as a ball.
Water polo was developed in Europe and the United States as two differing sports. Ultimately, the faster, less-dangerous European style predominated, and today this is the form of the game practised universally. It consists of seven-person teams playing four eight-minute periods.