Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
Hungary has historically created the strongest water polo teams, as an extension of its swimming success. Its biggest rival during the Cold War era was Yugoslavia, which has continued its excellent record since its break-up, through Serbia and Croatia. Even tiny Montenegro has twice finished fourth, both times losing narrowly to Serbia for bronze.
The consistent podium finishes of Serbia’s men belie the frustration of their failure to win gold, unlike Croatia. As world champions, they are in good shape to put that right.
In the women’s event, gold medals have been distributed far and wide, but the United States has been in the top three at every Games, and will be favourite to retain its title.
Next: The countries which have raised their hopes above their heads in weightlifting