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LONDON -- Team U.S.A. has medaled every year in Women s Water Polo, since the game was first introduced as an Olympic Sport during the 2000 Sydney Games, but they ve never taken home the gold. This year, the team is hoping to change that.

That includes athlete Elsie Windes, who grew up in Beaverton.

When she was a little girl, Elsie watched her father and her older sister play the sport. Then, she tried it.

Oh my, I think I about drowned the first time, she said. But Elsie got better, a lot better.

As a teen, she was an all-star player at Beaverton High School and with Tualatin Hills Water Polo Club. In college, at the University of California, Berkeley, Elsie was a three-time All-American.

By 2006, she became a member of the women s national team and she s been a vital player ever since.

The Oregon native is only one of two players on the US women s team who grew up outside of California.

It s been a dream come true for us and for her, to play here locally as a younger child. And then to just keep advancing and make it all the way to the national team and then the Olympic team, her father, Doug Windes said.

Both of Elsie's parents traveled to London to watch her play in her second Olympics.

I m going crazy and cheering for the team, her mom, Betty Windes, said.

Elsie s hoping this year she will return home with gold.

I m still nervous, but I think maybe a little less nerves and kind of just laying all of it on the line, she said. It's crazy, it's been such a long time preparing and now that it's finally here, it's kind of hard to believe.

More:Elsie Windes' bio

Blogs:A day at the pool

Photos: Windes and other 'Olympic goddesses

Complete coverage: Olympics Water Polo

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