Nearly 70 years after the first Puerto Rican athletes stepped foot in an Olympic competition, Monica Puig finally brings home gold. Her tennis matches made history for her country and the Olympic Games.
Puig’s win against Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitová advanced her to the finals of women’s singles. Puig fought hard against Germany’s Angelique Kerber, ending with a (2-1) lead in sets and a gold Olympic medal. CNN reports the reaction of the crowd, shouting “Si se peude,” or “Yes you can.” And from there, it only got better.
Puig is the first Puerto Rican tennis player to get any medal. She is also the first female Olympian representing the Caribbean nation to earn a medal. Then with her medal being gold, she sets a precedent for all Puerto Rican Olympians. And she continued defying odds as Woman’s Tennis Association ranks her 34th in the world. Kerber is ranked second, just under Serena Williams. Puig’s rank kept her from being seeded, but made her Olympic medal even more memorable. For over 25 years in the women’s singles, the gold medal has gone to a seeded player. The excitement over the new Olympic champion has been taking the world by storm and encourages more athletes to strive for gold.