Which countries won gold at the Tokyo Games?

In the women's tournament, the U.S. kept their winning streak alive with their third consecutive gold after winning the title at the 2020 and 2016 Games. The U.S. has also won a medal in every single Olympics since the women's tournament was introduced in 2000. The U.S. dominated Spain in the final 14-5, while Hungary defeated Russia 11-9 to win bronze.

Meanwhile, Serbia won gold in the men's tournament, serving as the country's fourth straight medal since the 2008 Beijing Olympics and their second straight gold. Serbia beat Greece 13-10 in the final, and Hungary claimed bronze by defeating Spain 9-5 in the bronze-medal match.  

Which countries are the favorites heading into the Olympic water polo tournament?

Hungary, Serbia and Spain are the favorites heading into the men's tournament this summer. Historically, Hungary has the experience to make a deep run and win gold, while Serbia — who won gold in Tokyo — showed they have the consistency to remain the best in the sport. Spain will have to beat Hungary or Serbia to reach the gold-medal match in Paris. 

In the women's tournament, the U.S. continued to prove its dominance in the sport by winning the 2024 World Aquatic Championships. The U.S., however, faced close contests in that tournament, and will most likely have to do so again at the Paris Games with the likes of Hungary, Greece and Spain looking to overtake the throne. 

What’s the outlook for the U.S. men and women at the Paris Olympics?

The men finished ninth at the 2024 World Aquatic Championships, and the competition is only going to get more difficult at the Paris Games. The men are not medal contenders but can consider themselves a dark horse in the tournament this summer. Captain Ben Hallock is likely to get support from past Olympians like Max Irving, Alex Bowen and Alex Obert, the latter having returned to training with the squad after a post-Games break. There are a few newcomers who are adding some needed depth to the team, too, like Ryder Dodd and Chase Dodd, brothers who might make the Olympics a family affair. The pieces are there to be optimistic about outside medal chances.

On the other hand, the women are one of the favorites heading into the Paris Games. Facing increased international competition and playing with a younger team, the Americans aren’t gold-medal locks like at past Games, but coming off winning the 2024 World Aquatic Championships, they remain the favorites ahead of several strong challengers. Stalwarts like captain Maggie Steffens and Rachel Fattal remain near-locks on the Olympic roster, who are comfortable passing down their veteran knowledge to newer standouts like Jenna Flynn. Plus, the outstretched arms of Ashleigh Johnson, a two-time Olympic gold medalist on the women’s team and generally considered one of the best goalkeepers to ever play the sport, will be key for the U.S. to win gold again.