Robin and the Canadians
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.
We're just back from watching the morning session of water polo - and (at the risk of sounding like I'm enjoying everything) it was superb.
The sport is like a cross between football, American football, hockey and basketball played in a pool in four quarters of (I think) seven minutes. There are many fouls and it's easily the most violent team sport I've ever seen!
We saw two women's group games. The first was Australia (gold medalists in Sydney) versus Kazakhstan. It was a bit one-sided, the Ozzies won 9-4 (Kaz wasted too many chances).
And then the main event, the big North American derby between USA and Canada. A lot more fans had arrived by now, with plenty of yanks to support the US and plenty of Canadians and folks from other nationalities to cheer against them (the Greeks particularly like to cheer against the US).
It was an incredibly tight contest, 0-0 almost until half time when the US took the lead (they'd both hit the post plenty of times before that). Canada had lots of chances but just couldn't score them.
The US had a burst of goals, and lead 4-0 until the very end of the third quarter when Canada pulled one back. The stats then showed that Canada had had 18 shots and just scored that one.
Then the amazing final quarter. Canada scored early to make it 4-2, but the US soon made it 5-2. At which point Canada staged the most amazing comeback. 5-3 (crowd gets excited), 5-4 (crowd goes wild), 5-5 (crowd goes super-wild) and, finally, 6-5 to Canada (crowd and players pinch themslves to see if they're dreaming). Absolutely amazing finale. After not scoring in their first 17 shots, Canada managed to score 6 in their final 7.
It was hard on the US, but for their sheer determination the Canadians were well worthy of the passionate celebrations that greeted their win.
Bob from Calgary (who came second in our first blog competition), if you're reading, I hope you and your country are celebrating this victory - for that comeback, your women's water polo team deserve some serious plaudits!