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Serena Williams took home a well-earned gold medal in women’s singles tennis at the Olympics Games. Sure, she made it look easy, but how long has she been doing this? No, seriously, HOW LONG HAS SHE BEEN DOING THIS?!
I remember first hearing about Serena and her sister, Venus, when I was in elementary school. All of my friends who played tennis looked up to them in awe.
I guess I never bothered to look up how old they were at the time, did you know their careers started when they were only 13?! That would explain why Serena still looks like she did ten years ago, and is competing just as well.
After Michael Phelps announced that he didn’t want to be swimming competitively into his thirties, I realized how short the career span is for most athletes. Gymnasts very rarely stick around to tackle the uneven bars in their twenties, and most ice skaters are off the rink before their thirties. Competing in sports at such an elite level is really hard on a person’s body.
So, imagine my surprise when I realized that Serena’s tennis career has spanned almost my whole educational career… but she’s ONLY THIRTY YEARS OLD!! And boy, does she still have it. She rocked the tennis world over the weekend.
The NY Times said of her match, “Williams, who has dominated many a tournament in her emotional roller coaster of a career, has perhaps never been more dominant than she was in singles at these Olympics.”
With the win, Williams became the second woman to ever achieve a Golden Slam, which is a victory in all four Grand Slam tournaments and a gold medal to ice the cake. The only other woman to claim a Golden Slam was Steffi Graf in the 1988 Olympic Games. As if this victory weren’t awesome enough, this makes for a solid 14 Grand Slam championships that she has conquered.
In her match against Russia’s Maria Sharapova, she was simply in a league of her own. While Sharapova was considered an even match at first because of her four Grand Slam victories and world champion status, all her focus and endurance couldn’t stand up to that of Serena. “Playing against someone like Maria, you have to be at your best. I know that, so it was like I had nothing to lose,” Williams said.
The men’s coach from the Team USA tennis team, Jay Berger watched Serena’s performance and commented that it was, “one of the most dominating performances in the history of the sport. She showed she’s the best player in the world right now.”
Despite his praise, the overall rankings will reflect differently with Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka in first, Sharapova in second, and Poland’s Agnieska Radwanska in third. Williams is in fourth place overall.
To top off a great weekend, Serena and her sister Venus dominated in doubles, cruising to gold after Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.