Betsey Armstrong bringing Olympic gold back to Ann Arbor
Betsey Armstrong is golden.
The Huron High School and University of Michigan graduate gave a sterling performance Thursday to help the United States women’s water polo team beat Spain, 8-5, in the Olympic gold medal match.
One of only two non-California natives on the U.S. roster, and the only one that didn’t play college water polo there, Armstrong joins her Golden State teammates as the first Americans to win a gold in the sport.
The Spaniards didn’t beat Armstrong for the third time Thursday until 5:40 remained in the game.
Hopes of another Spain comeback in the final dwindled when Armstrong stopped a penalty shot in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Maggie Steffens scored on the U.S.’s ensuing possession for an 8-2 lead.
The 19-year-old Steffens scored five goals in the game, giving her an Olympic-best 21 for the tournament.
A world power for years, the U.S. had medaled in the women's event at every Olympics since the game debuted in 2000 but had never won gold. It earned silver in Sydney, bronze four years later in Athens and then silver again in Beijing.
Armstrong was in goal in the 2008 final, when the U.S. fell one goal short against the Netherlands in the final of the Beijing Olympics.With her gold-medal quest complete, Armstrong will return to Ann Arbor and become an assistant coach on Matt Anderson’s staff at Michigan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.