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Olympic Women's Water Polo Gold Medalist
National Advisory Board
Brenda Villa was born in East Los Angeles, and at the age of six she started swimming for Commerce Aquatics. At age eight she got her start in water polo. She graduated from Bell Gardens High School in 1998, finishing her career there as a four-time First-Team All-American.
Brenda arrived at Stanford University as the nation’s top recruit, and red-shirted two years to train for the Sydney Olympics. As a 20-year-old, she led the U.S. team with nine goals in Sydney, where the US took home the silver medal.
In 2001 as a red shirt freshman at Stanford, she was named the Division I Water Polo Player of the Year. In 2002 she led the Stanford team to a National Championship with 60 goals and was awarded the 2002 Peter J. Cutino Award as the top female college water polo player in the United States. She finished her Stanford career as a three-time All-American, with a degree in political science.
In 2004 at the Athens Olympics Brenda again led the team in scoring, and the team finished with the bronze medal. Brenda and the US Team took silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, and in her fourth Olympics, the 2012 Games in London, Brenda and her teammates triumphed 8-5 over Spain in the final, bringing home the Gold for the first time for Team USA!
FINA Magazine named Brenda the Female Water Polo Player of the Decade (2000-10).