Gianni DeMagistris (ITA)
Honor Water Polo (1995)
FOR THE RECORD: 1976 OLYMPIC TEAM: silver; 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES participant; 1978 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold; 1975 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: bronze; 1973 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 4th place; 1970, 1974, 1977, 1983 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: participant; 17 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.
A passionate player from historic Italy, Gianni DeMagistris is considered to be one of the best water polo players of all time. He has played on five Olympic teams, scoring 60 goals during Olympic competition, and a career total of over 6,000 goals.
Although he has become an expert on passing the ball, his first splash in the water had nothing to do with polo. He began swimming as a youngster at the age of six. Gianni was the Italian 1500m freestyle champion in 1967 and a member of the 800m freestyle relay championship team in 1970 and 1971. When Hall of Famer and teammate Eraldo Pizzo retired from water polo world competition, it was Gianni DeMagistris who took over the Italian ball.
He started off playing with the Italian National “B” league in 1965, and in 1974 he moved to the National “A” league. From 1969 to 1985, he scored more goals in the Italian National Championships than any other player. Gianni competed in every Italian National Championship from 1964 to 1986, scoring an astounding record total of 1,528 goals during the Championship Games alone.
Gianni DeMagistris was a force to be reckoned with, both nationally and internationally. At the 1976 Olympic Games, his leadership and athletic skill assisted his teammates to the silver medal. In the 1978 World Campionship, Gianni steered his team to a triumphant victory, claiming the gold of the Games. For this, he received his country’s “Most Valuable Player Award.”
In retirement, Gianni leaves behind a career which spans over two decades of world class performances. His astounding athleticism speaks for itself; he has left behind not only a legacy for others to emulate, but has become a legend within his own right.