Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Finchley Open Air Pool, Finchley, London; Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
Date Started: July 28, 1948
Date Finished: August 7, 1948
Format: Series of round-robin elimination pools, followed by round-robin semi-final pools, and then round-robin final pools.
Hungary had won the gold medal in 1932 and 1936, but at the 1947 European Championships, Italy won the title, as Hungary was shut out of the medals. The two teams were favored in London, and both advanced to the final round after the Byzantine series of rounds that were contested in 1948. But they had already met in Group C of round two, Italy winning 4-3. That result was carried over to the final round, and would help determine the eventual champions, Italy taking gold and Hungary the silver. Italy played eight matches in the tournament, winning seven, and tying Yugoslavia in first round group play. Belgium and the Netherlands were also in the final round. Belgium had won six previous Olympic medals in the sport, while the Dutch team had never won one. They had met in the semi-final round, tying 3-3, but the Netherlands won the bronze medal in the final round by virtue of tying Hungary, 4-4. The 1948 water polo tournament saw the Olympic début of Hungary’s Dezső Gyarmati. Gyarmati would lead Hungary to medals at the next five Olympics and is usually considered, with Spain’s Manuel Estiarte, one of the two greatest water polo players of all-time.