US Water Polo Captain to Miss Opening Ceremony Due to 12-Player Limit for Team of 13

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U.S. men's h2o polo skipper Jesse Smith volition miss the Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics connected Friday aft the USOPC constricted however galore players from his squad could enactment successful the festivities.

Olympic h2o polo rosters dwell of 12 players and an alternate who tin beryllium activated earlier immoderate match. The 38-year-old Smith is the alternate for the United States' opening lucifer against Japan connected Sunday due to the fact that it doesn't request arsenic galore halfway defenders against the big country.

Smith wrote connected Twitter connected Friday that the squad was told it could person 12 credentialed athletes locomotion successful the ceremony. A connection was near by the The Associated Press seeking remark from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

“I would emotion to spell to the opening ceremonies. It didn't enactment out. We weren't capable to fig retired a way,” Smith said during an day caller conference. “But fortunately, that happened to me. This is my 5th games. I've walked before. I would emotion for my kids to beryllium capable to spot maine connected TV and spot my teammates, and truthful they're going to spell and I'll beryllium cheering them connected from the village. I deliberation there's different athletes that are successful that concern arsenic well."

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Smith is playing successful his 5th Olympics, matching Tony Azevedo for astir Olympic teams for a U.S. h2o polo athlete, and helium said Tokyo volition beryllium his past one. He was nether information to service arsenic the antheral U.S. emblem bearer for the Opening Ceremony earlier that grant went to shot subordinate Eddy Alvarez.

The 6-foot-4 Smith, who played successful assemblage astatine Pepperdine, won metallic astatine the 2008 Beijing Games, the past clip the U.S. won a medal successful the tournament.

While Smith said the squad had moved connected from the situation, manager Dejan Udovicic said helium felt Smith should beryllium capable to participate.

“We are not a 12-player roster. We are 13 players roster,” helium said. “So maine arsenic a coach, I don't recognize the last decision.”

The Olympic occurrence is simply a staple of the Olympic Games that dates backmost to the opening years of the Games.

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