Volume 93, Issue 25

Thursday, October 14, 1999


A Vigar-ous conversation

No horses in this polo

Barrier breaker or boxing match?

A trying first half of the season

No horses in this polo

Waterpolo. No, it's not a bunch of people playing polo on a rainy day.

Waterpolo was originally called "football-in-the-water." The game, for all intent and purposes has more in common with soccer than it does with polo.

The sport involves seven players, including a goalie, dribbling a floating ball and trying to score on the opponents goal. Relatively new on the world scene, the game is widely played in the United States as well as places like New Zealand and Australia where some of the world's best teams compete.

Waterpolo began in Great Britain during the 1870s. In its original form, the game was played by riding on barrels which were painted to resemble horses. While on the barrels, players struck a floating ball with sticks. Thus, the "polo" in waterpolo.

The sport developed its first set rules in Scotland in 1877 with the setting of goalposts. By 1890, the first international competition was held in London, England and eventually won by Scotland.

Although Scotland won playing by British rules, those same rules eventually became the basis for the international regulations governing the circuit throughout the world.

By the 1880s waterpolo had already spread to North America and it wasn't long after the game was introduced to the Olympic Games.

Great Britain won the first gold medal in waterpolo competition at the Paris Olympics in 1900. Britain went on to dominate the sport for the next two decades, winning gold in 1908, 1912 and 1920. But eventually British domination ended as the sport became more popular internationally.

Countries like Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and eastern Europe quickly rose and led the sport in the years before the second World War.

–Sean Maraj

To Contact The Sports Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999