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A water polo superstar broke her nose mid-match, gushed blood into the pool, and returned days later to set an Olympic record

INSIDER logo INSIDER 30/07/2021 (Tyler Lauletta)
a woman holding a sign posing for the camera: Margaret Steffens. Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Gettyimages © Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Gettyimages Margaret Steffens. Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Gettyimages
  • Maggie Steffens has scored more goals at the Olympics than any women's water polo player in history.
  • Steffens had a four-goal game against Russia on Friday, and now has 49 goals in three Olympics.
  • Steffens suffered a bloody broken nose just days earlier in a match against China.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

American water polo player Maggie Steffens wrote her name into the Olympic history books on Friday with a four-goal performance in the pool against Russia.

The game brought her to 49 career goals at the Olympics over three trips to the games, more than any women's player in the history of the sport.

Making the feat all the more impressive is the fact that she did it with a broken nose.

Just a few days earlier, Steffens, the captain of Team USA, suffered a broken nose against China that left her bloody in the pool.

a man swimming in a pool of water: Maggie Steffens. Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Gettyimages © Provided by INSIDER Maggie Steffens. Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Gettyimages

Steffens was forced to leave the pool twice in order to receive treatment but played on, helping lead Team USA to a 12-7 win over China.

Since then, Steffens and the American water polo team have stayed afloat.

Heavy favorites heading into the tournament, Team USA was shocked in the third game of the group stage when they were upset by Hungary in a 10-9 loss - their first defeat at the Olympics since 2008.

The Americans bounced back in their next game, taking down Russia 18-5 with Steffen's four goals breaking the record.

Steffen still wore a black eye in the pool, but fought through it to make Olympic history.

a man swimming in the water: Maggie Steffens. Harry How/Getty Images © Harry How/Getty Images Maggie Steffens. Harry How/Getty Images

Asked about the record, Steffens credited her teammates.

"As much as it's definitely cool and I appreciate it, you can't have that without teammates," Steffens said. "You can't have that without a pass. You can't have that without being able to play the sport with women who you train with and dream with."

At 3-1 in the group stage, Team USA leads their group and looks poised to continue their run into the medal rounds.

Whether a bloody nose, black eye, or anything else, Maggie Steffens is ready to lead her team the whole way.

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