Water Polo

Photograph by Patrik Giardino

30, 6 feet 1, Long Beach

Trains at: Cal Lutheran University pool in Thousand Oaks. The road taken: This will be Azevedo’s fourth Olympics. After suffering a back injury in 2011, he almost missed the regional qualifier in Mexico this year. He led the United States to victory and a chance to better its silver medal showing at the 2008 Games. “If anything, the injury has made me stronger. With rehab and physical therapy, my shoulder is more stable, and it’s made my shot even better.” Psych factor: “I want my opponent to finish the game thinking that he has never played against someone so tough and so fast and that drove him more crazy than me.” Superstition: On game days, an hour before the team meeting, Azevedo reads the newspaper and has a coffee, preferably an espresso. “I need that time not to be thinking about water polo.” Life after London: “Hopefully, we’ve got the gold medal and we’ll get to do some TV shows. My dream is to be on Top Chef.”

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