Roger Federer has won just about everything there is to win in tennis, but there’s one thing that has eluded him—an Olympic gold medal in singles. He’s come close, reaching the bronze medal match as a 19-year-old in Sydney in 2000, then winning the silver as a 30-year-old in London in 2012.
But Federer might have the next-best thing to a gold medal in singles: a gold medal in doubles, and it was with one of his good friends, too. He and Stan Wawrinka conquered the Beijing Olympics together in 2008, even taking out two of the greatest doubles teams of all time in straight sets along the way—they beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-4, and the Bryan Brothers in the semifinals, 7-6 (6), 6-4. In the final, they battled past the Swedish team of Simon Aspelin and 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3.
Having lost in the quarterfinals of the singles event that year to James Blake, Federer’s triumph in the doubles put the smile right back on his face.
“I’m thrilled. It’s a big moment,” he said afterwards.
“It’s a dream come true moment. It comes around maybe once in a lifetime.”
For both Federer and Wawrinka, singles has always been the priority—that was the last of Federer’s eight career doubles titles, and one of Wawrinka’s only two.
But for both, it might be one of their most memorable victories, period.