A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tony and his family moved to California when he was a month old. Although he’s lived in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro, Tony has always considered America home.
While his peers were playing pee wee football or little league baseball, Tony grew up with water polo as the family sport. His dad Ricardo played for the Brazilian National Team and competed under that flag on their Olympic team. When he moved the family to America, Ricardo brought his passion for the sport with him, coaching Tony and his sister Cassie throughout their early years and into high school. You could say that Tony comes from Olympic royalty – with 4 aunts and uncles also competing on various Brazilian Olympic teams.
Tony’s first Olympic experience was as a ball-boy for the 1996 Olympics when his dad was the U.S. National Team’s coach. That gave him a taste for what it would be like to play for the team – which he would do 4-years later at the 2000 Games and every summer Olympics since. With the 2012 Men’s Senior National Water Polo Team chosen, the charismatic 32-year-old will play as an ‘attacker’ and captain. Hopes are high for the men to bring home the gold this time, having come just shy at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where they settled for silver.
When Tony’s not traveling the world with his team competing or working out eight hours a day, six days a week, he’s cooking a gourmet meal for his wife Sara, playing guitar or supporting his charity to save abandoned pets in Brazil.
The men play their first game on July 29th and then play every other day until the medal ceremony on August 12th.
Image credit: Mitchell Haaseth, NBC Olympics