USA Water Polo CEO Chris Ramsey to retire after Paris 2024 Olympics. GETTY IMAGES

Ramsey will step down after 17 years, having set records for longevity in roles representing the Olympic Movement. Under his leadership, USA Water Polo has doubled its membership. His efforts were instrumental in establishing the National Junior Olympics as the largest tournament in recent years.

It has been 17 years of dedicated service to date, but there is still almost a year to go before Chris Ramsey, the CEO of USA Water Polo, will step down and retire after the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The news was announced last Wednesday and the water polo community could only applaud the significance of his person and legacy. 

His career makes him one of the key figures in water polo since 2006, the year in which he took on a leadership role in representing the sport. He is arguably one of the individuals who has spent the most years in key positions within the Olympic Movement in National Olympic Governing Bodies. 

"Chris has been instrumental in taking USA Water Polo to new heights through his dedication and visionary leadership. His commitment to excellence is truly inspiring. We are deeply grateful for his years of service and the legacy he leaves behind," said Bill Smith, President of the USA Water Polo Board of Directors. 

The progress made in water polo during his tenure has been instrumental in positioning the sport as one of the powerhouses of sports, particularly in the women's category. In addition, Ramsey's leadership coincided with a period of decline in water polo, along with other major sports, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. 

USA Water Polo has seen a significant increase in membership. Membership has doubled in the past decade to 50,000. Ramsey played a key role in expanding the success of the National Junior Olympics, now the largest water polo tournament in the world with nearly 1,000 teams competing in 2023, and in developing development programmes.

Chris Ramsey to retire after 18 years as CEO of USA Water Polo. GETTY IMAGES
Chris Ramsey to retire after 18 years as CEO of USA Water Polo. GETTY IMAGES

The women's team won three consecutive Olympic gold medals and five world titles, while the men's team achieved historic results, winning an Olympic silver medal in 2008 and targeting a podium finish at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Beyond the medals and accolades, Ramsey's influence is felt at all levels. His commitment to the well-being of athletes is demonstrated by his implementation of a club-based athlete safety and risk management programme. Under Ramsey's leadership, USAWP has also established programmes and funding to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. He has also established key partnerships with the Positive Coaching Alliance and Project Play. These partnerships have helped to promote a constructive and ethical sporting environment for all.

Ramsey said: "USA Water Polo's successes are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our athletes, coaches, officials, staff and Board of Directors, as well as our community of parents and volunteers. Our members are passionate about the sport. I am confident in the prospects for water polo under the next generation of leadership, especially with the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

USA Water Polo has already begun the search for a new CEO. The process will be gradual, building on Ramsey's legacy to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted transition upon his departure.