Thursday, March 31, 2016

Men Water Polo at the Summer Olympics: Nations participation

Water polo is a sport developed in the 19th century. It made its debut in the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics, but only for men and it would take another 100 years for the women events to feature in a summer Olympics edition. Since its debut, the sport did not receive consistent number of participating nations with team number fluctuating from the lows of 4 nations to the highs of 21 nations. This remained so until the 1976 Montreal’s Summer Olympics, when a standard number of 12 men teams was first established and has remained so to today.

Despite making its debut in 1900, water polo was a demonstration sport in the Missouri’s St Louis Summer Olympics of 1904, however its demonstration status died with the 3rd edition of the Summer Olympics; that 1904 summer edition.

A total of 49 nations have participated in the Summer Olympics water polo sport. Starting on a low note because only 4 nations participating in the 1900 Summer Olympics. These nations that participated in the 1900 edition are host France, Belgium, Germany and Team GB.

The number of participating nations remained the same like the 1900, with only 4 nations taking place in the 1908 Summer Olympics held in London. These 4 nations were all from Europe; the host, Team GB, Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden and this would mark the editions with the lowest participating teams in the Summer Olympics Water Polo sport.

In the first ever Sweden held Summer Olympics; the Stockholm 1912, the water polo sport participating nations grew by two to six and this number would double to 12 nations in the 1920 summer editions, this is the edition that took place 2 years after the end of Second World War and was hosted by Belgium’s Antwerp City.

In the 1924 Summer Olympics, this was the second edition of the Games to be held by the France’ Capital City; Paris, a total of 13 nations managed to have a team participating in Water Polo. The 1928 edition had 14 nations taking part in the water polo for men. However this high number of participating nation suffered a blow in the subsequent Los Angeles Summer Olympics of 1932, when the number dropped to a low of only 5 nations.

Came the controversial 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin during the Nazi rule and there were 16 nation’s teams fighting it out in the water polo sport and this trend would see two more nations participate in the second London Summer Olympics of 1948; water polo number of participating nations was 18.

The 1952 Summer Olympics, the second in the Scandinavian city; Finland’s Helsinki went to the Olympics history as the edition with the highest participating nations in the water polo sport. The participants passed the 20 mark for the first time with 21 nations taking part in this edition. It’s without the doubt the Helsinki Summer Olympics of 1952 that has recorded the highest number of teams compared to all other summer editions.

From the highs of the 1952 Helsinki Summer edition of 21 nations the participating nations in this sport went down to less than half in the following Melbourne 1956 Summer Olympics with only 10 nations sending a team. However, the number was 16 nations in the Rome’s 1960 Summer Olympics but dropped to the lowest of 4 nations in the Tokyo 1964. Mexico 1968 Summer Olympics witnessed 16 nations take part in the water polo sport and remained 16 nations for the last time in the Summer Olympics history in the subsequent Munich 1972. In the 1976 Montreal; Canada edition of the Summer Olympics, the number was 12 nations and this has not changed since then. From Montreal in 1976 to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 Summer Olympics, 40 years down the line, the number of men’s event in the Summer Olympics has remained 12 nations. This has been so for a record 10 editions of the games and it will be the same for the 11th time in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

There is no way of summarizing the nation’s participation in water polo than to use a table, please find such a table below.

Olympics Edition

Host City

Host Country

Host Continent

Year

Number of Water Polo teams/nations

2

Paris

France

Europe

1900

4

3

St. Louis

USA

North America

1904

Demonstration Sport

4

London

United Kingdom

Europe

1908

4

5

Stockholm

Sweden

Europe

1912

6

6

Antwerp

Belgium

Europe

1920

12

7

Paris

France

Europe

1924

13

8

Amsterdam

Netherlands

Europe

1928

14

9

Los Angeles

USA

North America

1932

5

10

Berlin

Germany

Europe

1936

16

11

London

United Kingdom

Europe

1948

18

12

Helsinki

Finland

Europe

1952

21

13

Melbourne

Australia

Oceania

1956

10

14

Rome

Italy

Europe

1960

16

15

Tokyo

Japan

Asia

1964

3

16

Mexico City

Mexico

Central America

1968

16

17

Munich

Germany

Europe

1972

16

18

Montreal

Canada

North America

1976

12

19

Moscow

Soviet Union (Russia)

Europe

1980

12

20

Los Angeles

USA

North America

1984

12

21

Seoul

South Korea

Asia

1988

12

22

Barcelona

Spain

Europe

1992

12

23

Atlanta

USA

North America

1996

12

24

Sydney

Australia

Oceania

2000

12

25

Athens

Greece

Europe

2004

12

26

Beijing

China

Asia

2008

12

27

London

United Kingdom

Europe

2012

12

28

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

South America

2016

12

 

With the balance of participating nations settling at 12, we hope that it can only increase in future but not decline. See you at Barra de Tijuca’s, Maria Lenk Aquatic Center, where 12 men teams and 8 women teams will fight it for the water polo sport medal glory in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics from the 6th of August to the 20th of August.