With the start of the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Games in London less than 24 hours away, the United States best and brightest athletes wait with faded breath for their opportunity to shine. But after being so close to gold in the last two summer games, the U.S. Women's team is hungrier for the gold this year than ever.
After a blocked shot by the Netherlands in the finals seconds during the 2008 games in Beijing derailed their golden dreams, and a buzzer-beater loss at the hands of Australia at the 2000 games in Sydney. But instead of think of it as a negative, the team is turning it into motivation:
"It's definitely not something you can just forget," said two-time Olympian defender Jessica Steffens. "You want to put it behind you but it doesn't just go away. We have definitely used that as fuel. Even the girls who are first-timers, they know."
As for Anae, the USC Trojan and Newport Beach native, she's been training with the US team since 2010 so this will be her first Olympic games. The goalkeeper has been on point leading up to the games, notching sixteen saves at the 2012 FINA World League Super Final, while helped Team USA win Gold and their Olympic berth at the 2011 Pan American Games.
She, along with the rest of her teammates, want to make US water polo history by bringing home their first gold medal:
"We want to be part of the group to bring the first gold to the U.S," said two-time Olympian Brenda Villa.
The US women's water polo squad gets underway on July 30 in a first-round matchup against Hungary. A complete schedule of all water polo events can be found here.
For more on the 2012 London Olympic Games, make sure that you check out SB Nation's dedicated Olympics hub.