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Four USC Water Polo Players Win Olympic Gold With Team USA; Spain’s Anni Espar Takes Silver In Tokyo

Aug 7, 2021

The USC women's water polo program had five Trojans in the pool for the 2020 Olympic gold-medal game in Tokyo, guaranteeing an impressive medal haul for the Trojan contingent. When the final buzzer sounded in Tokyo, Team USA held a 14-5 win over Spain to get the United States a third straight gold medal at the Games. That meant four Trojans — Kaleigh Gilchrist, Stephania Haralabidis, Paige Hauschild and Amanda Longan — would bring home gold medals, while Spanish Trojan Anni Espar claimed silver. 

Two-time Olympian Kaleigh Gilchrist now has two gold medals to her name after scoring two goals in this 2020 Olympic final. A 2013 NCAA champion at USC, Gilchrist also won Olympic gold with Team USA in 2016. Meanwhile, first-time Trojan Olympians Stephania Haralabidis, Paige Hauschild and Amanda Longan add their first Olympic gold medals to the combined four NCAA titles they won as Trojans. All four Trojans contributed to the United States' gold-medal win, with Haralabidis scoring her 13th goal of the Games in the final while Hauschild and Longan also logged key plays in the victory.

For Spain's Anni Espar — a 2013 NCAA champion at USC and now three-time Olympian — this is her second Olympic medal. She won silver in her first journey in 2012 and now has her second Olympic silver after this 2020 final. Espar scored 15 goals for Spain in the 2020 Games and was named to the Media All-Star Team.

With their second Olympic medals in-hand, Gilchrist and Espar now make up a group of four Trojans to boast multiple Olympic medals. A three-time Olympian with Team USA, Kami Craig leads the pack with three medals (silver in 2008, gold in 2012 & 2016). Craig and Gilchrist are the only Trojans to hold multiple golds. USA Olympian Lauren Wenger, meanwhile, won silver in 2008 and gold in 2012 alongside Craig.

USC now boasts 19 Olympic medals on the women's side since women's water polo appeared in the Games in 2000. USC's five medals collected in 2020 marks the most by Trojan women since 2008 when Ilse van der Meijden won gold with the Netherlands and five USC women on Team USA won silver — Patty Cardenas, Kami Craig, Brittany Hayes, Moriah Van Norman and Lauren Wenger — to make it six Trojan medalists that year.

USC had a program-record 10 women competing in these 2020 Olympic Games. In addition to the five Trojan medalists, five others represented three other countries. Australians Hannah Buckling (2013 NCAA champion) and current USC sophomore Tilly Kearns finished up in fifth place at these Games. First-time Olympian and two-time NCAA champion Maud Megens, meanwhile, scored 17 goals for the Netherlands en route to a sixth-place finish for the Dutch. Canadians Joelle Bekhazi (2010 NCAA Champion) and two-time NCAA champion Hayley McKelvey got Team Canada to a seventh-place finish in the two Trojans' first-ever trip to the Olympic Games.