Long Beach CA— On June 11, 5-time water polo Olympian Tony Azevedo scored his last goal for Team USA during a highly publicized retirement game at Stanford University. However Azevedo, considered one the greatest water polo players of all time, is not leaving the water polo community during retirement. Instead, he has created several key youth events/programs aimed at growing the sport both in the USA and across the globe.
One of these is the Aquatic Games, a youth tournament taking place this August 2-6 in Azevedo’s hometown of Long Beach California. The Games, organized in conjunction with CTC Conferences & Events, center around a high-level international water polo tournament, but also provide a fun, festive atmosphere complete with an Opening Ceremonies, interactive workshops, a Vendors Village, on-deck entertainment and a medal/trophy awards finale. Polo teams are traveling to the Games from across the globe (Italy, Brazil and Australia among other countries), and from various USA locations (Texas, Utah). “My Italian youth team ProRecco is so excited for the Games,” say coach Giacomo Pastorino. “Of course we have played tournaments before, but at the Games my kids will learn so many new things outside the water.”
Dozens of Olympians will interact with participants at the Games, giving speeches and even one-on-one feedback. These Olympians including water polo greats Merrill Moses and Maggie Steffens, and swimming legends Jason Lezak and Jessica Hardy. “This is a awesome event,” says Moses. I want to share my story and help participants grow mentally. I want to watch them play with kids from different cultures and all walks of life.”
Participants will also benefit from a host of workshops, in which Tony’s own mentors and trainers will discuss topics including nutrition, strength training, injury prevention, and even academic preparation. Members of Olympic non-profit LA84 will also bring and discuss the official torch and mascot from the 1984 Olympics Games.
These workshops are part of a larger festival that will run outside the main pool. Participants will enjoy a surf simulator, photo booths, and a baseball fast pitch. There will also be a “Vendors Village,” with booths boasting a variety of food, drinks, free samples and fun products. “I can’t wait to get a snow cone.” says Olympian Peter Hudnut.
Live music performers will include “Jelly of the Month Club,” several members of which played for legendary Long Beach band SUBLIME. Young water polo players will also perform as members of “The Elements Band.”
The Games Opening Ceremonies will take place at the Long Beach Cove – a new event venue with Aquatic-themed decor (the light fixtures were created with blown glass and look like neon-colored seaweed.) The Ceremony itself will feature inspirational video footage and live talks by Tony and other Olympians. Participating teams will take the stage one by one to be introduced and photographed.
The Games are positioned to become one of the most widely recognized and premier aquatic events in the world. Plans are already in the works to including swimming, synchronized swimming, and maybe even kite surfing/beach volleyball into next year’s Event.
Learn more at www.theaquaticgames.com