Men’s water polo has been an Olympic sport since 1900, but it took another century for the women’s game to be added to the Olympic program. Its admittance owed much to determined campaigning over two decades by Australian and US players.Appropriately enough, the final at the 2000 Sydney Olympic was contested by teams from the two campaigning nations.
The Australians, having beaten Russia in the semi-final, came from behind twice against the Americans after some freakish saves by Liz Weekes, and were level at the three-quarter break. Later, with 1.2 seconds left to play, Yvette Higgins unleashed an incredible left-handed shot from long range, one that tore through the hands of US defenders into the back of the net. A short-lived protest followed, with the Americans claiming that the game had ended before the shot was taken. Then it was official: Australia had beaten its powerful rival 4-3.