For many Olympic athletes, winning two bronze medals is a major achievement. Taking a quick peak at the career of water polo superstar Filip Filipović, and it’s easy to see how he might not be satisfied with that. While coming home with any medal should be celebrated, Filipović has developed a standard for the very best. The two-time International Swimming Federation (FINA) player of the year and winner of 20 international gold medals has just one more box to tick off for what’s been a storied career. And Saturday afternoon he’ll have that chance, as his Serbia take on Croatia in the gold medal match.
Leading up to the Olympic final, Filipović has shown why he is considered to be the best player in the world. During their last group stage game this past Sunday against Japan, Serbia found themselves down in an early 5-2 hole, however, Filipović would ensure that his squad would make it through to the quarterfinals. By the end of the night, he finished with six goals (four in the second half) on just seven shots, as Serbia prevailed 12-8.
Performances such as these help to explain why some refer to him as the Michael Jordan of the sport. Either way, his top form in the pool has been a huge catalyst for the Serbian national side in recent years – and at this rate, his Skill makes Serbia the favorite to claim its first Olympic water polo gold.
Filipović’s résumé in the water is simply astonishing. His scintillating play has led Serbia to win two World Championships, five European Championships, two World Cup gold medals, one Mediterranean Games gold medal, and ten FINA World League titles. Individually, he has won two European Swimming League (LEN) player of year awards (2009 & 2014) in addition to his FINA player of the year awards (2011 & 2014).
The 29-year-old winger has become well known for his monstrous left-handed shots and deadly accuracy anywhere near the goal. Playing at 6’5 and 220 pounds, it’s easy to see where his power is generated from and why many are apprehensive to take him on. Yet he also displays a savvy finesse in his goal scoring ability, making him dangerously versatile. His full arsenal of shots can be seen in the video below.
So far, Filipović appears a man on a mission at Rio 2016. Facing a Croatian unit in the final that won Olympic gold at London 2012, he and his team will surely have their work cut out for them. The highest stage has brought out the best of Filipović before, and Saturday’s match should prove no different. The Skill of the world’s number one will be on full display as he attempts to chisel his name into Olympic lore.
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 20 August 2016