Adam Krikorian leads way for U.S. water polo team after tragedy


Even when he had to leave Rio to grieve his brother’s unexpected death on Aug. 3 and comfort his family in California, Adam Krikorian never seriously considered staying home and missing these Olympics.

Krikorian, one of the most celebrated water polo coaches in U.S. history, has always had a close and special bond with his players. And with everything they had put into defending their title four years later, he convinced himself this moment was about serving them, not him.

“I look at them and know how much work they put in through this process no matter what happened to me or my family I can’t ditch them,” said Krikorian, who flew back to Rio the day before the team’s first game. “This is my team, and I need to be here. Obviously I needed to be home during that period (as well), but I need to be here doing my best to try to lead the way.”

As Krikorian discovered, returning to the Olympics has been therapeutic, especially with the women he coaches on the verge of another gold medal. As the U.S. plays Italy on Friday, Krikorian doesn’t think it’s accurate to say that he or this team is inspired by the memory of his older brother Blake Krikorian, who founded Sling Media, the company that builds Slingbox.