Posted: Jul 13, 2012 5:59 PM by Andrew Masuda
Updated: Jul 30, 2012 7:31 PM
San Luis Obispo native Jeff Powers is headed to his third Olympic games as a member of the US men's water polo team. The 32 year old San Luis Obispo High School graduate says wearing the red, white and blue gets a little more special each time. "You're representing the greatest country on earth, so being able to put on that hat that says USA and that suit that says USA and go out there and represent us and play. It's an amazing feeling. It's awesome" said Powers.
At 6'7", Powers is one of the team's most dangerous scoring threats and an excellent defender according to head coach and Santa Barbara native, Terry Schroeder. "He's really one of those special athletes and he is one of the reasons that we have a shot at winning that gold medal " said Schroeder.
Powers scored six goals for the US in its silver medal run four years ago in Beijing. It marked the first medal for the team in 20 years. "It's kind of bitter sweet because to win the silver medal you have to lose the gold. That's really the driving factor behind the team this year is a lot of the returners are coming back to go for that gold because it kind of didn't sit very well with us" said Powers.
That's why many of the players elected to stay in the United States and train together rather than play professionally overseas. "Most of the guys on this team have dedicated the last 12 years of their life to this process, so to get that validated a little bit and knowing that all the hard work you've put in paid off would be real special. We feel confident we can. We have the right pieces, we have the right players and hopefully we can do it" said Powers.
The men's water polo team hasn't won a gold medal since 1904, they open play in London on July 29 against Montenegro.
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