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USA Water Polo Secures Adam Krikorian, Dejan Udovicic To Continue Coaching Through Tokyo Olympics

By Craig Bohnert | Jan. 24, 2017, 1:21 p.m. (ET)

Adam Krikorian (L) and Dejan Udovicic (R) have been retained by USA Water Polo to head the men’s and women’s national teams, respectively, through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Stability at the top is a hallmark of any thriving program, and USA Water Polo has taken a major step toward keeping its programs moving in that direction by retaining women’s head coach Adam Krikorian and men’s head coach Dejan Udovicic for the next Olympic quadrennium. Both have signed new four-year contracts that were announced today.

This marks the first time USA Water Polo will have the same two head coaches for consecutive Olympic Games.

"We are delighted that both of our Olympic coaches have chosen to return to the arena for another quad," said Christopher Ramsey, USA Water Polo chief executive officer. "Strong organizations are built on stable leadership. The continuity that Adam and Dejan bring to our Olympic program, along with their extraordinary coaching gifts, will absolutely strengthen our high-performance foundation.

Adam's achievements have set a new standard of excellence in women's water polo. Dejan took over a program in need of a rebuild and has been up to the challenge, transforming the team and roster in a short period of time. Adam's and Dejan's commitment to USA Water Polo is evidence that their competitive fire still burns brightly. We are delighted to support their efforts over the next four years."

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In eight years at the women’s helm, Krikorian has shaped Team USA into a dominant world power that made history in Rio as the first women’s team to successfully defend an Olympic gold medal. The American women began their dominant run in the summer of 2014 and have earned gold at every major tournament since, including 2016’s FINA Intercontinental Tournament, the Olympic Qualification Tournament and the FINA World League Super Final on the way to a 41-6 record.

Krikorian was named the United States Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Games in Rio and his team was selected as the world’s top women’s water polo team by FINA for the second consecutive year. Team captain Maggie Steffens was named the Games’ most valuable player for the second time, while goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson became the first water polo player to receive Sports Woman of the Year honors from the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Since taking the reins of the men’s program in the spring of 2013, Udovicic has revitalized the talent development base and already has produced signs of the potential he will build upon in the years leading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In addition to gold at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Team USA claimed its first medal since 2008 at a major FINA competition, taking silver at the 2016 FINA World League Super Final.

Although the team finished out of medal contention in Rio, nine first-time Olympians gained valuable experience that will pay dividends in the coming years. Udovicic will bolster the roster using the talent identification skills he developed in his native Serbia, abilities that helped shape the Serbian team that won gold in Rio.