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Krystina Alogbo announces retirement from Canadian Women's National Team

(September 4, 2020 - Montreal, QC) - Krystina Alogbo officially announced her retirement from the Canadian Women's National Team this morning in Montreal.

After a long period of reflection, Alogbo shared her decision to her teammates and staff at the Women's National Team training camp last week. The 15-year veteran of the Canadian Senior Team could not hide her emotion at the time of the announcement, but she believes the timing is right with the opportunities that lie ahead. Alogbo will continue to play professionally with CSS Verona in Italy, where she will also coach the U16 & U18 teams.

“It's a huge decision for me. Water polo has been my priority for over 25 years, and it still is. The last year has been tough physically and mentally. I've thought a lot about it over the past few months, and I really think it's the right decision. Although it's not easy, I have a few good years left in me, and I want to make sure I stay competitive. The opportunity arose to go to Italy, and I decided to begin the transition towards coaching his year,” said Krystina Alogbo regarding her decision.

“On behalf of Water Polo Canada, we would like to thank Krystina for her commitment to the sport of water polo and proudly representing our country for more than 15 years,” said Martin Goulet, Water Polo Canada's Executive Director. “She is a true inspiration and a real example of dedication; her impact on the Canadian water polo community goes well beyond statistics and results and her advocacy work has made her a leader in and out of the pool. Krystina leaves behind a great legacy, and we wish her all the best in her future projects. We are excited to see what's next.”

The Board of Directors of Water Polo Canada passed a special resolution at their meeting on September 3, 2020 recognizing and expressing gratitude for Krystina's exceptional contribution to the Canadian National Team and the sport of Water Polo in Canada. “Competing at such a high level for so long while being a powerful advocate for important social causes and a critical team leader are truly remarkable accomplishments”, said Conrad Hadubiak, President of Water Polo Canada.

The 34-year-old made her debut with the Senior Women's National team in 2005, competing in four Pan American Games (2007, 2011, 2015, 2019) and eight FINA World Championships (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019). Her time with the National Team was punctuated by several notable moments, including a gold medal at the 2003 Junior World Championships in Calgary, a silver medal at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships in Rome and a bronze medal at the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal.

When asked about the best moments of her career, Alogbo alludes to the medals won on the international scene, but also to memorable games. “There were a lot of important moments over 20 years, but what I remember the most is the close, intense and competitive games. This is what water polo should be, a constant battle and not a 10-goal victory. In 2003, I didn't think I would make the Junior Team, and we ended up winning gold by beating the Americans. The 2005 Worlds also remain etched in my memory, despite a certain naivety at the time. It was such a blessing to play in front of our family and friends, win a medal on Canadian soil, and play alongside legends like Cora Campbell, Ann Dow and Johanne Bégin. I have always loved challenges and adversity, so the 2011 Pan American Games final in Guadalajara is such a big part of my journey. That day with the Mexican crowd behind our team, we had quite a performance, dominating the United States despite the shootout loss. Over the years, I have had the good fortune to meet exceptional athletes and individuals,” adds Alogbo.

“When I saw Krys play the first time, I said I was not going to retire until I got the opportunity to play with her. That opportunity came in 2005 when we played together at World Championships in Montreal, where we won the bronze medal. Her understanding and vision of the game make her one of the best. For the past four years, we have been reunited but as player and coach. Again, she was always a pleasure, always willing to try new things and also has that never give up attitude. I have now said that I will not retire from coaching until I get the opportunity to coach with Krys; she is truly one of the best and smartest players around. I know one day she will be back, and Canada will be thankful.” - Cora Campbell, Women’s National Team Assistant Coach & Former Teammate.

“I’ve known Krys my entire water polo career. She was always the one to beat, the strongest, the smartest, the toughest, the one that could rally a team and carry them on her back. Me being the perfectionist that I am, I’ve strived to reach her greatness for the last 20 years, and I’m still so far from it. We had some intense and challenging games against each other growing up, but those are part of why I am where I am today, thanks to her and her extreme competitiveness. We were huge rivals growing up and didn’t even really like each other. When playing on the National Team, we quickly realized that we needed one another to be the best. I’ve been so grateful to have her in my life, not only as an incredible teammate but as one of my closest friends. We completed each other as teammates. The last little while, people have been joking that I was the yin to her yang and vice versa. I will truly miss her, and her presence on the team as just by having her around made everyone around her better. I thank her for being a huge part of my life, for being my rock during these last couple of years, for being my inspiration for the last 20 years, for being the standard I strive for, for always making sure we had our coffee on trips, for being the best roommate, for being my best friend, but most of all for being the yin to my yang.” – Joelle Bekhazi, Women’s National Team.

Alogbo first started water polo at the age of eight at the René-Goupil pool in Montreal’s Saint-Michel district. She then transitioned to CAMO at the age of 11, where her progression continued to Team Quebec and eventually the National Team. Dreaming of the Olympic Games, she practiced many sports in her childhood: soccer, swimming and water polo. Her then-coach, Daniel Berthelette, convinced her to focus on water polo to achieve her goals. Alogbo gives her coaches enormous credit and says she has learned from every one of them. “I would not have been here today without the help and support of my coaches: Coach Steve and Coach Tony from when I first started at the Montreal Metro level, Sandra Lizé when I came to CAMO, and of course Dan Berthelette, who has been so much more than a coach for me. He is my mentor, and he truly contributed to the player and person I’ve become,” indicated Alogbo.

“It is difficult to describe Krystina in just a few words. She is an example of perseverance in water polo. Fifteen consecutive years on the Senior National Team is an impressive achievement. Few athletes in our sport have the merit of being able to influence the game so much. What sets Krystina apart from most individuals is having been true to her core values throughout her career. She proudly represented the sport, her teammates, and the programs she participated in by giving it all and leaving everything in the pool. Krys has been an example for our sport, and she will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come.” – David Paradelo, Women's National Team Head Coach.

In addition to her impressive international career, Krystina Alogbo has also had success at the professional level. She played several seasons in Siberia, an experience that she describes as both confronting and rewarding. In recent years, she has been part of the CSS Verona club in the Italian league, where she will continue her career for a few more years. Beyond her exploits in the swimming pool, Alogbo is also involved with several social causes. Advocating for inclusion and diversity, she continues to share her journey and experiences with the hope of helping others in the community, particularly the LGBTQ+.

“Krystina hanging up her Water Polo Canada cap comes as a great loss to our team. We are happy she has decided moving on from the National Team is the best choice for her, but we are saddened to see her go. Not only are we losing an amazing teammate, but also a great leader and an inspiring water polo player. She has achieved so much over her water polo career and has done numerous things for our program. Krys has taught me many things that I will never forget as a center and leader on this team. I know she is going to continue to do amazing things in this sport, and we wish her nothing but success in her future endeavours!” – Emma Wright, Women's National Team.

Of course, we are sad to see Krys retired, but we support her decision. She gave everything to the Women's National Team, and she can be proud of her career. As a team, we want to thank her for all the years devoted to this sport. She is the image of water polo in Canada, and she has inspired athletes of all ages, including me. Krys is an idol, a mentor, and someone I can always count on. It will be difficult to no longer see her by my side at practices and matches, but I am hoping I can make her proud and follow in her footsteps.” – Elyse Lemay-Lavoie, Women's National Team.

Despite her retirement from the National Team, the next few months will be busy for Krystina Alogbo, who will fly to Italy in the coming days to join her club, CSS Verona. With a contract in hand, she hopes to play while continuing her training to become a water polo coach. Alogbo isn't closing the door to returning to the National Team in a different role, but she wants to give herself some time to adjust to this new life. Hailing the impact of all who have crossed her path, Alogbo hopes her journey with the National Team, her passion and tenacity will inspire other athletes to follow their dreams and represent Canada.

“It's a new phase for me, and I'm so grateful for the people around me. I wouldn't be here without my family's support, especially my mom and my sister, and of course, my teammates and the staff. People who sometimes operate in the shadows have had a significant impact on my career, and I want to thank them for always being by my side…they know who they are. I hope people remember me as an intense, competitive and passionate athlete; the next generation has to believe it. Canada can compete with the best teams, even right now. I am at peace with my decision, even though I didn't get to go to the Olympics, it is time I passed the torch. As my mom and my sister told me, now it's up to my nephews and nieces to fulfill the Games' dream and let me tell you, they have my energy!”concluded Krystina Alogbo with laughter.

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Please join Water Polo Canada in celebrating Krystina’s career by sharing your favourite memories using the hashtag #ThankyouKrys.



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