Okay, so I was looking back over my “A to Z of Olympic Sports”, and I suddenly realized: I’ve missed one.

Thought I might have included it, under “Swimming”, but, no. So, here it is:
Water Polo

Thanks as ever to http://www.olympic.org, for additional facts and figures.

Water Polo

Water Polo

Water polo is a sport played between two teams in a swimming pool, with a netted goal set up at each end. Competing teams attempt to score points by throwing a buoyant ball into the opponent’s goal. Each goal is worth one point.

Water polo originated in England during the 1870s and soon became popular in the United States.

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 (land-based, horseback) 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.

In 1897, New Yorker Harold Reeder formulated the first American rules for discipline, which were aimed at curbing the sport’s more violent tendencies.

Water polo was developed in Europe and the United States as two differing sports.

From approximately 1920 to 1946 the United States departed from the international rules for water polo by adopting a loosely inflated ball that could be gripped in one hand and carried toward the goal. Opposing players usually attempted to seize the ballcarriers, wrestle them under water, and render them helpless from loss of breath.

Ultimately, the faster, less dangerous European style predominated, and is today the standard form of the game. It consists of seven-man teams, playing four, seven-minute periods.

The ball weighs between 400g and 450g. Its circumference is 0.68m to 0.71m, for men, and 0.65m to 0.67m, for women.

The two goals are 3.0m wide and 0.9m high, and float on the water.

Lane ropes and buoys are used to distinguish the field of play, and imaginary distances from the goals.

Players wear colored bathing caps with individual numbers and ear protectors. These are used not only for protection, but to also distinguish the various players on a team.

Water polo made its Olympic debut at the Paris Games in 1900. It was not included in 1904, but would be present at each subsequent edition of the Olympic Games.

The Hungarians have historically enjoyed the greatest success in this discipline. Between 1928 and 1980, they won medals at every Games, winning six of the ten gold medals available between 1932 and 1976.

At the 2000 Games in Sydney, Hungary made a remarkable comeback, winning its seventh gold medal in water polo. In the same year, women’s water polo made its first official appearance at the Olympic Games.

So. That’s the one I missed.

And Here’s Your List:

The London 2012 Official Olympic Website:
http://www.london2012.com/schedule-and-results/

The site gives an overview of the tournament, in calendar form. There are also day-by-day breakdowns of the events in either list form, or as time charts.

Dates run from 27th July to 12th August, so the Events List for, say, the 28th of July would look like this:

http://www.london2012.com/schedule-and-results/day=28-july/list.html

Which would be the URL you would enter in your browser.

So, now you have no excuse to miss the action on your local broadcast network.

Speaking Of Which…

The Olympic Games were first telecast in 1960, and the broadcasts have only grown in popularity, since then. The global audience is now estimated at over one billion television viewers.

Viewer ratings, advertising revenue, and prestige associated with broadcasting the games have established the Olympic rights as among the most coveted and expensive in all of television.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has become increasingly dependent on income derived from television – particularly American TV. Even the scheduling of the games has been changed, in part, to accommodate the U.S. media.

The games first attracted a significant television audience during the 1968 Summer Games, when Roone Arledge was at the helm of ABC Sports. These shows set the standard for Olympic telecasts.

And it’s not just the sports coverage.

Typically, a host network captures 50% of the television audience each night, for the two-and-a-half weeks of the Olympic telecast. This establishes a relationship between the viewers and the network – which translates into increased ratings for regularly scheduled programs.

Paradoxically, though, networks lose money on the Olympics. Bids are made knowing that the result will be millions of dollars lost. Broadcasting the Olympics is more a matter of network prestige, than a question of profit.

And I hope you’ve profited, by your time spent here.

See you again, soon.

Peace.

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