Some people think that tennis shouldn't be an Olympic event, but I'm glad it is. The 2012 Olympic singles event showcased all three current winners of majors, which felt "right" to many tennis fans. World number 2 Agnieszka Radwanska made an unfortunate early exit, and--alas--Petra Kvitova didn't make it to the medal stand (I really thought she might get it together for the Olympics). But it was nevertheless gratifying to see Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka receive their Olympic medals.
There is probably no way to adequately describe the triumph of Serena Williams. After all she has been through, to win both Wimbledon and an Olympic gold medal is a double feat of immense proportions. Add to that the almost scary dominance she displayed over Sharapova in the final, and we see Williams as not only the great champion that she is, but also as the inspirational force she has become.
Both Williams and Sharapova have taught us that obstacles--even seemingly unmovable ones--can be knocked down. But we can also learn from Azarenka, who has learned to fight distraction in every form, and to focus on winning. And she has done it all without compromising; she is still (thank goodness) Vika, in all her earphones-in, tongue-out, in-your-face glory.
Among them, the three medal winners can make themselves heard for a great distance, and their personalities light up the tour.
Venus Williams--who has also been through, and continues to go through--very trying times--was not to be denied, either. She and her sister won the doubles gold medal for the third time, once again forcing the tennis history book chapter called "Williams Sisters" to expand. The great Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka won silver, and--to the joy of fans--the Russian team of Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova won bronze. That joy comes about because the impressive Kirilenko lost the bronze medal match in singles, and because--well, you know--Oh, Nadia.
Azarenka did go home with a gold medal. She and partner Max Mirnyi won the mixed doubles competition, and the ever-improving Laura Robson won the silver. Accompanying Robson was singles gold medal winner Andy Murray, so host country Great Britain had much to celebrate. Finally, talented and determined veteran Lisa Raymond, with partner Mike Bryan, won the bronze medal in mixed doubles.
I should add that I especially enjoyed seeing the players' Olympic tennis outfits, and I couldn't get enough of Venus's red-white-and-blue braids. I like the Wimbledon all-white tradition, but the colors of many nations looked great against the green courts.