The "Captain Villa Look" That Led to Water Polo Gold - NBC Southern California
London 2012

London 2012

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The "Captain Villa Look" That Led to Water Polo Gold

Four-time Olympic medalist Brenda Villa will retire after helping the United States win its first water polo gold

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    When the going gets tough for the U.S. women's water polo team, they turn to captain Brenda Villa.

    There were times when Brenda Villa, captain of the United States water polo team, had to get tough with her teammates during their run to a first-ever Olympics gold medal.

    Video: The "Captain Villa Look" | Images: U.S. v. Spain for Gold

    But Villa doesn't need to yell to make her point.

    "They would tell you that sometimes I give looks," Villa said. "We've done so well together that those probably don't happen that often."

    In the Pool With Women's Water Polo Team

    [LA] In the Pool With U.S. Women's Water Polo Team
    In their decade in the water, the U.S. Women’s Water Polo Team – which is captained by Commerce’s Brenda Villa – has won a gold, two silver and one bronze Olympic medals. They'll go for another gold on Thursday in the London Games. Women were allowed in the sport in 2000, a century after it was created. Vikki Vargas reports from Los Alamitos for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2012.
    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012)

    And, after four Olympics, Team USA will have to get used to playing without their long-time leader. Villa said Friday that she plans to retire after the U.S. finally added gold to its medal collection.

    Villa, of Commerce, scored a goal in the United States' 8-5 victory over a surprising Spain side in Thursday's final.

    "I've been privileged to be a part of four Olympic teams, and I think it's time for me to move on and do other things," said Villa. "It's been a great run. I wouldn't change anything about it, and I got my fairy tale ending."

    Historic Water Polo Gold Inspires City of Commerce

    [LA] Historic Water Polo Gold Inspires City of Commerce
    The City of Commerce watched history in the making Thursday, as the USA Women's Water Polo team swam and scored its way toward a first gold medal. Brenda Villa, the team's captain, was trained in Commerce and the city says she'll come home to a massive welcome. John Cádiz Klemack reports from the NBC4 Olympic Village at LA Live for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 9, 2012.
    (Published Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012)

    The U.S. has been a water polo power during the Villa era, but only had two silvers and one bronze to show for their Olympic appearances. The team's veterans joined with a group of younger players to give gold another shot in London.

    "We've been a little short in each Olympics, and now it's great to be a part of this," Villa said. "We had a great mix of veterans and young players. The last year, after placing sixth at the world championships, we knew this wasn't enough."

    Those young players included 19-year-old Maggie Steffens. The Seal Beach resident scored five goals in the final. That was after a record tying seven-goal performance in her Olympic debut.

    Steffens finished with a tournament-high 21 goals.

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