Tony Azevedo was at the USOC’s 100 Day Countdown to Rio in Times Square today. In many ways his appearance is a miracle. After all 30 years ago he was on an operating table only four years after entering this world. He survived and lived to become arguably the best Water Polo player in the United States, perhaps the World.
Born in Brazil but soon to call California home, Tony suffered an accident that saw his breathing cut off and heart still for four minutes. But he was spared. Its easy to see why in retrospect. He went on to dominate the sport in high school (4 titles) and college (two NCAA championships.)
The love for the sport is engrained in the family. His father played for Brazil’ water polo team and coached his son in his early years. Tony’s sister, Cassie, was a two-time All-American and played professionally in Italy while overcoming a congenital heart condition that temporarily delayed her career. But the man who was known as “The Savior” earned his keep in the water polo capital of the world, Croatia, and was named Captain of the U.S. team in 2012 after gaining silver in Beijing in 2008.
“When it comes to my team they look at me as this guy who is passionate and crazy about being the best,”
Now, four years later, the last piece of metal to complete the attire of a most successful and inspirational story is only missing a happy ending. He also has the added pressure of returning to the home of his birth to accomplish this. All of the challenges to the Azevedo Family point to this moment. Tony stated before London and it can be applied to this run.
“Any athlete who thinks he can’t get better is at the end of his career,”
“It doesn’t matter the goals, the defense, the PR, it’s all about winning.”