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  • Apr

    On Deck: Q&A with Tony Azevedo

    with Tony Azevedo

    Photo Credit: Mikasa

    SwimOutlet Blog: How have the Olympic preparations been going?  It must have been nice not to have to qualify at the Olympic Qualifier this past month in Italy?

    Tony Azevedo: It was amazing that we were able to qualify at the Pan American Games like all previous years. It has given us nine solid months to prepare ourselves mentally and physically, as well. We have been training very hard. Since we are the only team that has spent the entire time together we will have an edge training-wise. I think this has been some of the hardest trainings of my life.

    SwimOutlet Blog: You'll be a five-time Olympian when you get to Rio this summer. That sounds pretty special, doesn't it?

    Tony Azevedo: When all is said and done I will be able to look back and relish in my accomplishments, but today and the past 20 years has been about one thing and one thing only and that is winning a Gold Medal. I would easily trade in my past four Olympics for one Gold Medal.

    SwimOutlet Blog: Aside from being your fifth, these Games will mean even more for you since you were actually born in Rio before moving to the U.S. when you were a few months old... talk about that personal connection you'll have.

    Tony Azevedo: I remember watching the vote between Chicago and Rio [in 2009 to decide on the host city]. I knew I was the luckiest person around because that meant either my home or my second home. My father was born and raised in Rio and we have tons of family still out there today. The chance for me to play my fifth games in the city where I was born and in front of all my family is a dream. Destiny equals Gold is what I am training for.

    SwimOutlet Blog: Who looks to be the top favorites for the gold right now in the men's tournament, four months out?

    Tony Azevedo: Serbia is the favorite right now. The only team to beat them in the last three years is us, so we just need that chance!

    Photo Credit: HARDCORESPORT

    SwimOutlet Blog: What is the key for the U.S. team over the next few months?

    Tony Azevedo: We need to test ourselves mentally. We are the most explosive and dangerous team in the world, but our losses are due to our turnovers. We are still young and I have been surprised as to how much we are learning everyday in practice. Our roof is still so high, and we are climbing everyday.

    SwimOutlet Blog: You've been at this for a while now both in the Olympics and professionally -- has Water Polo changed a lot at the highest levels over the past two decades or is it still basically a pool, the ball and a goal!

    Tony Azevedo:
    I wish I could say that the sport has evolved, but unfortunately it hasn't. The only difference from 20 years ago is that players were getting paid much higher salaries in Europe and now with the economic crisis our players today are sacrificing much more. Little rules have changed, but the game is the same.

    SwimOutlet Blog: We have to ask the obvious... Have you thought about whether or not this will be your last Olympics?

    Tony Azevedo: I haven't. My head is on a Gold Medal and any time it is free to think of other things it usually involves trying to be a good father and husband. After Rio, I will play with my brazilian club SESI in Sao Paulo, do my Azevedo Winter Academy and then sit down with my wife and make a decision.

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