Tough as it is to sum up Serena Williams’ career in one word, “golden” would be a great place to start.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has topped an Olympic podium a record four times in five berths on Team USA, and this week marks a decade since she swept gold medals in singles and doubles at the 2012 London Olympics.
“I would have been happy whether I would have got a silver or gold,” she said after a 6-0, 6-1 demolition of Maria Sharapova in the gold medal match. “It's such a great achievement to get on that medal stand. So that was awesome. But obviously I wanted gold.”
Williams was already in the midst of a career renaissance that summer, shaking off the brutal disappointment of a first-round exit from Roland Garros to win her first major in two years at Wimbledon. When the tour returned to the All England Club a month later for the London Summer Games, she was primed to capture that elusive gold medal in singles.
“I was so focused here,” she explained. “I remember I was serving and I was thinking, ‘Serena, this is your best chance to win a gold medal. You played Wimbledon on grass. You played great on grass. Pull it together.’ I was thinking, ‘I got to do this.’”