USA center forward Kami Grain (12) celebrates after scoring a goal in overtime against Australia in the women's semifinal in the London 2012 Olympic Games at Water Polo Arena. (Photo by: Andrew Weber-USA Today Sports)
Oops! Coach calls an illegal timeout that allows semifinal match to be sent into overtime.
I was not aware Wade Phillips had a water polo coaching tree. How else to explain the unbelievably dumb move made by U.S. women's water polo coach Adam Krikorian that almost cost his team a trip to the gold medal match?
The U.S. led Australia, 9-8, in the semis and the Aussies had the ball with time running out. With seconds to go, an Aussie player took a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced out (what fun it was to hear NBC's Mike Emrick call that!) and there was a mad scramble for the ball.
With 1 second left, the clock stopped. Krikorian had called a timeout. The only problem was that in water polo you can't call a timeout unless your side possesses the ball and no one had the ball. After a long officials' conference, they ruled it was an illegal timeout and gave Australia a penalty shot, which they made, sending the game into overtime.
The U.S. dominated the OT and won, 11-9. To his credit, Krikorian took full responsibility for the blunder in an interview with NBC:
"That was my fault... Obviously not a very smart decision on my part. But this is a team game and even a coach makes mistakes sometimes and you need your team to pick you up and they picked me up. They're pretty special. I was a little bit out of it after that."