Tony Azevedo, Water Polo Captain: 5 Things To Know About The 5-Time U.S. Olympian

Sandra Johnson - Author

Jul. 24 2016, Updated 2:10 p.m. ET

Tony Azevedo isn’t the biggest water polo player in the pool, but he’s certainly one of the most successful U.S. Olympic water polo players in history. At just six-foot-one and 185 pounds, Azevedo is much smaller than some of his Team USA counterparts, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in grit and experience.

In fact, there is no one more experienced than Tony Azevedo on the U.S. Olympic water polo squad. The 34-year-old Californian is headed to his fifth consecutive Olympic Games, something no American male water polo player has ever been able to say before.

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Below, you can find out more about the life and career of Team USA water polo captain Tony Azevedo.

1. The 2016 Olympics mark the fifth for Azevedo, but he’s attended more.

In fact, Azevedo has been to the past six Olympic Games. He’s been a member of the Team USA Olympic water polo squad since 2000, but he also participated in the 1996 Olympic Games — as a ball boy. Soon after his first Olympic experience, Azevedo joined the Olympic team as the youngest member of the U.S. men’s water polo team at the Sydney Olympics.

2. Water polo is a family affair for the Azevedos.

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Tony had the opportunity to act as a ball boy during the gold medal match at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta because his father, Ricardo, was assisting with the men’s national team at the time. Ricardo had previously been a member of the Brazilian national team and is currently the head coach of the Chinese women’s team.

Additionally, Tony’s mother, Libby, is the founder of the first water polo “mom’s league” in Long Beach, California. According to NBC Olympics, Tony coached his mother’s water polo team. The 34-year-old Olympian reports that the women played hard and had a lot of fun. They sometimes drank mimosas during their games!

Azevedo’s sister, Cassie, also played the aquatic game. She was a member of the Cal State Long Beach team and eventually played professionally in Italy.

3. The 2016 Olympic Games mark a return to Azevedo’s birthplace.

Tony Azevedo was born in Rio de Janeiro and lived there for a month before his family moved to California.

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In recent years, Azevedo has returned to his birth country in order to further his water polo career. Tony has spent the better part of the past two years living in Brazil and playing professionally with the Sesi Polo Club. According to NBC Olympics, Azevedo says he and his son, Cruz, love Brazil for the local flavors. Cruz’s favorite food is reportedly chicken hearts!

4. Azevedo is expecting another child.

Though he and his family have spent time in Brazil, Azevedo will be competing at the Olympic Games without his wife and son. Tony and his wife, Sara, are expecting a little girl, and because of Zika concerns, Sara has elected to stay home with Cruz, Tony told NBC Olympics.

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“The risk just is too much so we just decided, hey, she can watch it at home with my sister.”

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5. In another life, Azevedo would have been a winemaker.

Tony considers himself to be a foodie and says that if he hadn’t been successful at water polo, he would have liked to be a chef or a winemaker because he collects wine. In fact, a perfect day for Azevedo would include plenty of wine, a three-hour Italian-style four-course lunch, and great company, he said.

Will you tune in to watch Tony Azevedo and the U.S. men’s Olympic water polo team hit the pool in Rio de Janeiro?

[Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]


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