Water polo is a sport that many weren’t even that familiar with until it made its Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000. And it’s a sport that even fewer pay any attention to, except come Olympic time. But this year, U.S. put water polo on the map. And to make the pot even sweeter, it turned out to be a tale of two sisters that did it.
Huge water polo names such as Heather Petri and Brenda Villa both put in a good effort in their gold medal match against Spain; but it was sixteen-year-old Maggie Steffens that, with her five goals, led to an 8 — 5 victory for the United States. Steffens is not only a fantastic goal-scorer, but she’s also got the drive and determination of someone who’s been competing in the Olympics for years. In fact, this is her first. As a competitor, anyway.
She was sitting in the stands during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, watching her older sister Jessica compete against the Netherlands for the gold. Sadly, Beijing was not the year for America either; and they lost gold to the Netherlands by just one goal. Having won two bronzes in the event already at the time, and then taking silver, America had still come just short of gold.
This year told a different story though and perhaps even a sweeter one; as Jessica was finally able to earn her gold, and with her sister, too.
Maggie’s drive and determination is matched by her gratitude, her patriotism, and the love for her sport. “I wanted this for myself, but I wanted this for Brenda and Heather to be able to retire and go out with the happiness of winning gold,” she said after the event. “and for the ’08 girls, to fill that void, and get the gold medal.”
Water polo may not be a sport that we’re still not entirely familiar with. But the Steffens Sisters have done a great job of putting it on the map!