Palermo, Sicily – The USA Women's Water Polo team arrived in Palermo, Sicily, site of the 2000 Women's Olympic Qualification Tournament and a date with history. Men's water polo is, along with soccer, the oldest Olympic team sport, having been on the Olympic program since 1900.
"This Olympic Qualification Tournament is without a doubt, the most important event in the history of our Federation," says Bruce Wigo, the Executive Director of USA Water Polo.
"Not just because of the chance to play for the gold medal in the first
Women's Olympic Tournament, but given the events unfolding within the US
Olympic Committee, our financial future as an internationally competitive
National Governing Body (NGB)is on the line," says Wigo
Norm Blake, the new CEO of the United States Olympic Committee recently
announced a plan to reduce funding for those NGB's that do not do well in the
"Of course were concerned by this proposal," says Wigo, "But we are also
confident that we will qualify and demonstrate to the USOC that deserves that
organization's continued support."
The tournament begins April 22 and three teams look to join Australia, Canada
and the Netherlands in the six team Olympic field. The USA must finish in the
top two to guarantee one of those spots. The third team to qualify will
either be a team from Asia (Kazakhstan or Japan) if one finishes in the top
eight, or, if no Asian team finishes in the top eight, the team that finishes
third overall will go to Sydney. Thirteen teams are entered in the