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Earlier this month, Sleuth did a comprehensive blog on National Watermelon Day …

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… but today turns his attention to ‘Water Melons’ of a different size and shape—namely those accidentally exposed in the world’s greatest pec•tator sport, Water Polo, which just concluded at the Rio Olympics!

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“The U.S Women’s Water Polo Team dominated Italy in a 12-5 win in their gold medal match” to conclude the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, reports NPR, “to become the first women’s team to win gold at consecutive Summer Olympics. It’s the most goals ever scored in a women’s water polo final, and the widest margin of victory.”  

“The U.S. saved its best for last,” added ESPN, “and in the end

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… “Italy never stood a chance (below left), while Hungary (below right) was nipped by Russia 19-18 for the bronze medal.

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“One by one,” ESPN continued, “the U.S. players draped their gold medals around the neck of their grieving coach Adam Krikorian”—after having “tackled him into the pool” for a group celebration.

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“It’s a dream come true,” gushed Krikorian—who had to rush home from Rio before the first game “to be with his family after the sudden death of his brother Blake, a former water polo player at UCLA and beloved Silicon Valley entrepreneur.” When he left, “his players pledged their support for their mourning coach. And they delivered with their play—all the way to the gold medal.”

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“That’s what we’re about,” declared team captain Maggie Steffens, “going out there, having fun and playing the best water polo we can.” And she can play pretty well—winning her second Olympic MVP title and being acclaimed “the best player in the world” by the Associated Press.  

“We have a strong foundation,” Steffans stated before the Games … and showed her underpinnings while modeling the team’s new uniforms—with a dark patch of pool to mask any pubes when wet!

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Yet it was Maggie’s boobs … not pubes … that became a target for Olympic opponents unable to stop her any other way …

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“Steffans Embracing Leadership Role” read the AP headline above this pic on the eve of the Games.  

Water Polo has been called “the most erotic and sexy sport in the world”—so it’s no wonder that a dozen members of the U.S. women’s team posed nude for ESPN the Magazine in 2010:

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“We started with all of the girls in robes and arranged them so that their varying heights created two ‘waves,’” recalls photographer Art Streiber. “We then had them lose the robes and tested the shot with just bikini bottoms. After all of the positioning had been finalized, they took off their bikini bottoms and we went to work.”  

He enjoyed the “work” so much that the lucky lensman convinced the squad to also pose nude underwater: “I was in full scuba gear and wearing two weight belts,” Streiber reveals. “I went down first and then signaled for the women to drop in 3 rows of 4 each, all the while covering their equipment.”

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The squad had come a long way in just a decade from the first U.S. women’s water polo pose for the 2000 Sydney Games in full regalia.

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“Twelve members of the top female water polo team in the world appear side-by-side, front-to-back, and yes, in nothing but what their mamas gave them,” BlogMagazines.com reported. Stanford All-American Lauren ‘Lolo’ Silver—whose mom Kathy swam on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team—took the plunge for a solo shot (below left), while 3-time All-American Elsie Windes let a hint of pubes peer from behind the ball (below right).

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Bronze medalist in the 2004 Olympics and winner of gold in 2012, Kelly Rulon was 2007 NCAA Player of the Year … and Player of the Rear (below left) with her butt-baring pose. “This opportunity to pose respectfully naked for ESPN the Magazine has allowed us to showcase our muscular, fit bodies,” top scorer and 2006 collegiate MVP Lauren Wenger (below right) proudly proclaimed. “Female bodies are beautiful, but water polo bodies are the best!”

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So good, in fact, that even opponents can’t seem to keep their hands off of them!

“It’s rough down there,” observed sports blogger Joe McNally. “Women’s water polo athletes are amazing aerobic machines, constantly jockeying for position, levering their bodies high out of the water for shots, and fighting through opposing ‘crotch blockers’ and ‘tit grabbers.’ The submerged WWE matches are all just part of the game to them.”  

“When I first started playing, we just wore regular suits, and I would wear two of them,” sighed U.S. team veteran Heather Petri, a 4-time Olympic medalist. “At one point, they gave us the suits swimmers use, but they’re so thin that the moment someone grabbed them, they would just go rip!” Let her rip, Heather! {being pulled down by a bossy Aussie}.

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“Asked for her most memorable moment of underwater warfare,” the New York Times reported, “Petri said she played about 10 minutes of a game topless at the 2000 Olympics, when an opponent shredded her suit as they grappled for the ball but play continued. Left with little choice, she just kept swimming until the next timeout, when she hopped from the pool and shimmied into a spare. Petri laughed in telling the story” …

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… but Heather exacted revenge by baring the left nipple of Spain’s stunning Maica Garcia (above) in America’s 9-6 win in the 2009 world championships!  

Star teammate Brenda Villa—voted Female Water Polo Player of the Decade (2000-2010)—shrugged when told of Petri’s topless tale. “It’s just part of the game,” feels the most decorated player ever and leading scorer, who is used to drawing distractions like this chin to the chest (below) from Italy.

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Since water polo referees can call only what they see, the ‘war under the waves’ is intense, but Villa doesn’t want officials “trying to interpret what is going on based on how players move or react.” Brawling Brenda believes: “If they did that all the time, you’d have people just acting or simulating to draw whistles.” Canadian star Christine Robinson (below left) didn’t have to simulate—only stimulate—when Villa’s tackle caused her left breast to be completely bared during the 2007 Pan American Games (below right).

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Content on the surface to air missiles,’ Brenda doesn’t want the public to view Down Under—even after Australian attacker Ashleigh Southern buried her head in Villa’s va-jay-jay below the bubbles.

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“Everyone likes underwater cameras because you get to see what’s going on,” the American star stated, “but as players we hate them. Because you’re being grabbed, you’re being exposed underwater, and we don’t want that on TV.”  

Yet it was (un)bound to happen: “What’s a huge televised sporting event without a women’s boob popping out?” smirked Starcasm after an Aug. 1, 2012 incident within days of the Villa interview. “NBC had a D’Ohlympics moment during a rare non-tape-delayed segment (otherwise known as ‘live’) of the women’s water polo match between Spain and the United Steats States. NBC cut to an underwater view of the action just as the broadcaster commented, ‘You see a lot of suit grabbing going on underwater,’ and US player Kami Craig tugged on an opposing Spanish player’s swimsuit, exposing her la sandia (aka watermelon) for the world to see.” Sleuth managed to capture (t)it in hi res:

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“The momentary boobage caused an uproar on Twitter,” reported the International Business Times, “with many going online to seek confirmation that they did, indeed, lay eyes on a bare breast during NBC’s live coverage of the event.”  

“According to SF Gate, one of the more popular tweets about the wardrobe malfunction concluded, ‘I didn’t know water polo was so erotic.”

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Seconded a similar ‘sports’ fan: “Just saw a boob on the Olympics. Women’s water polo is awesome!!”  

Added the IB Times: “Of course, things like this happen. Water polo is a tough sport and all sorts of underhanded tricks are legal—including grabbing, punching, and basically everything all the way up to biting. So it’s no surprise that sooner or later, someone ended up showing their nipple.” Prompting a Spanish reader of Yahoo Sports to weigh in:

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Kami Craig—the California Golden Girl and team sex symbol—came close to shocking us last month while signing balls before heading off to Rio (at center below) … but alas avoided a nip slip in her low-cut tank top.

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Unlike the Spanish señorita she exposed in London: “While NBC did mention the name of the person doing the yanking,” read one report, “the sportscasters did not report the name of the Spanish player whose boob was telecast to millions of viewers.” As Zimbio reiterated: “The Spanish player has not yet been identified—it’s hard to tell swimmers apart from the underwater angle.”  

Not for Sleuth—who poured over the tape {someone had to do it!}, com•paired body types of the 2012 Olympic roster from Spain and gleaned who was covering Craig the most … to determine the orb belonged to that nation’s El Angel de Waterpolo, Anna Espar:

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“Lucky they wear goggles,” quipped one observer, “because she could put an eye out with that pointy nip”—but that might have been Anna’s only defense against the 6-years-older Craig, who outweighed her by nearly 50 pounds. Sleuth compiled this Tale of the Tape for their tussle after identifying the exposed Española.

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Moaned Gawker editor in chief A.J. Daulerio—whose tawdry testimony during the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial contributed to the jury’s $140 million damage ruling and the site’s demise—when asked about the Olympics: “I can’t look at water polo after talking to my best friend’s fiancée. She played in college, and I never wanted to hear a woman utter the phrase, ‘Suit raping just happens.’”  

And it happened most memorably to another Spanish star … which became a YouTube sensation when captured by those dreaded underwater cameras.

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During the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics in London, Spain edged Hungary 10-9 on its way to the silver medal … but not before its left wing had her left thing exposed by a buda pest

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… then had her bush get a push from her handsy Hungarian opponent!

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By the time she could climb out for a time out (below) Spain still had the lead

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… but TV had the feed—thus the incident’s infamy was immortalized on YouTube:  

Easy to identify by the No. 8 on her cap, the Lady of Spain was popular player Pilar Peña—who won revenge … and a gold medal … the very next year by exposing Hungarian hero Krisztina Garda at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.

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The United States denied Pilar the gold in the 2012 Olympic final … lending a helping hand to her leaping gland in the 8-5 win … yet our hat’s off to her for not copping any excuses amidst the ‘feels’.

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So who was the ‘strictly from Hungary’ opponent who undressed our heroine underwater in London?  

Why none other than superstar Rita Dravucz, who’s been dubbed ‘The Sexiest Olympic Athlete’ by an entire blog dedicated to ‘her hotness.’

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Hungary’s star and sexpot for 3 Olympic Games, Rita helped her team cling to a slim one-goal lead in the quarterfinal match (just before taking on Spain in 2012) by clinging onto her Russian rival’s suit underwater with just over 3 minutes left—exposing her comrade’s fuzzy front to fortunate fans.

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Two seconds earlier, Dravucz had helped herself to a handful of hair pie to throw the gal off her game!

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Hungary hung on to win 11-10.  

No wonder U.S.A. star Brenda Villa vowed that same year: “The person that invents a suit that’s not going to move is going to make a lot of water polo players happy.”  

Somebody has … damn you Speedo! … and their “new state-of-the-art uniforms” were unveiled this month by the Australian women’s water polo team at the Rio Games.

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“The colorful uniform has a high-cut design to maximize athletes’ mobility in the pool,” claims the company, “and incorporates a new non-grip fabric that is hard for competitors to latch on to.”

 “There’s a lot of pulling and grabbing in water polo,” understates star Rowena ‘Rowie’ Webster. “Bathers get ripped off ” your body. Which explains the slick and shiny inserts in the “improved” design.

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Team member Kelsey Wakefield called the uniforms the perfect combination of fashion and functionality: “Not only do they look great, but the fabric is nice and strong—which will make it hard to grab. The gold foil on the front and back is a great design feature that acts as anti-nip slip paneling, which you need in water polo.”

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Maybe so, but on the Aussies’ no nip slip trip to Rio, the first squad ever to win Olympic gold finished sixth. Just sayin’ …  

“As you can see,” notes Australia’s leading feminist site MamaMia.com, “it’s wise to have as little to grab on to as possible, as any loose/extra material would only serve as super handy handles for your opponent to snatch.”  

“Most of them will also wear a suit 2-3 times smaller than normal to make it even tougher for their rivals to get their hands under the edges. But what about the high-cut thing? So small, so tight, so high-riding!”  

It’s actually necessary to enable the lateral movement required for the “egg beater’ kick that helps players tread water … but it also exposes parts of the body where—even for Aussies—the sun don’t usually shine!  

Unlike the bikinis that water polo players wear to train for their underwater breathing …

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… the extreme cut necessitated by trying to prevent epidermal exposure brings tan lines front and (off) center to the pool for polo—especially for sun-worshipping Italians.

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Not being able to wear sports bras (too much drag and too easy to grab) or privacy cups—like they do in gymnastics and track—nipple pokies (see Greece below left) and camel toes (by way of Holland) are often unavoidable.

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And butt wedgies (courtesy of Croatia) are inevitable.

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Butt while taut tan lines on an athlete’s ‘A’ are those most often displayed by the high-cut suits, the sun-sheltered ‘T’ of Kazakhstan’s Yekaterina Gariyeva made an unscheduled appearance at the 2009 World Championships in Rome when her top ripped open!

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Thus, in addition to the ever-present potential for T & A exposure at events, Women’s Water Polo also offers the most alluring tan lines of any sport … with so much covered yet so much revealed.

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Let’s END on that sunny thought …

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… to resume in Part Two where Sleuth selects the Medal Winners in Water Polo’s Oops Olym•pix.