Twelve years after his Olympic debut and eight years after his last Games, James Stanton-French played in his third Olympics in Rio with the Australian side as the most experienced player on the team.
The Aussies lined up against the Brazilian hosts in their opening Game of the 2016 Olympics, but the roars from the home crowd proved to be too much as the boys narrowly went down 8-7. In their second pool game, the Aussies bounced back to secure a 9-9 draw with powerhouse Hungary, before they recorded an 8-6 win over Japan in game three.
Determined to try and secure Australia’s first ever men’s water polo medal, the Aussies then lined up with eventual Gold medallists Serbia and after a hard fought battle went down 10-8. Hungary defeating Brazil resulted in a fifth place finish in their pool for the green and gold, meaning the Aussies would not progress to the quarter-final stage.
The imposing 6’5” (200cm) goalkeeper was born in Perth and started playing water polo when he was 12. Stanton-French made his Olympic debut at Athens in 2004 and competed again in Beijing, 2008. The Sharks placed ninth and eighth respectively.
Stanton-French has played in five senior World Championships, the first in Spain in 2003; and most recently when Australia placed eighth at the 2015 Championships in Russia. He placed ninth in his first junior World Championships in Turkey in 2001
Stanton-French played professionally in Spain for four years, competing for various Spanish water polo teams. He also has been assistant coach and manager for junior teams at the WAIS.
After Rio Stanton said he hopes to start a family with his wife Sarah and continue his career as a primary school teacher.