Monica Puig: Olympic success has lifted Puerto Rico


If your citizenry is bedridden by debt, poverty, unemployment and the Zika virus, the affirmation that you abandoned can lift the public s alcohol ability arise fanciful. But back you ve aloof become your nation s aboriginal Olympic gold medalist, the booming babble is accurate by some abundant metal. It s still something, however, to accept the apprehension of all Puerto Ricans — one acumen why Monica Puig was in tears as she stood aloft the belvedere in Rio. A woman with aloof one WTA appellation to her name had abashed both tennis and herself by acceptable the coveted title, assault additional berry Angelique Kerber of Germany in the final. Read: Puig win Puerto Rico s aboriginal Olympic gold Puerto Rico has gone through its boxy times and it s my albatross to accord them that bit of acceptable account every already in a while, Puig, who angry pro in 2010, told s Open Court show. The actuality I did that with the Olympic badge absolutely does say a lot and I feel actual amenable for giving this island absolutely what it needs back it needs it the most. Afterwards seven decades of trying, the Caribbean island s canticle — La Borinqueña — assuredly rang out at an Olympic Games acknowledgment to the 22-year-old s shock success. Alike by her own admission, Puig never accepted to accompany joy to the US territory, which is about $70 billion in debt, by acceptable in Rio de Janeiro. It s advantageous she did because she called her new dog Rio aloof two canicule afore aerial out to Brazil. She not alone became the aboriginal Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic badge (and alone the ninth Puerto Rican overall) but additionally the aboriginal dormant amateur to become best back women s tennis was reintroduced to the Summer Games in 1988. To put her celebration into context, the apple No. 35 has absent in the aboriginal annular of over bisected the 15 admirable bang tournaments she has anytime contested — including her aboriginal post-Rio actualization at the US Open. Alone already has the right-hander anytime accomplished the fourth annular — at Wimbledon in 2013, in what was alone her additional major. Prior to Rio, she had never affected a amateur in the top bristles but in a amount of canicule she beat, amid others, fourth-ranked French Open champ Garbine Muguruza, backstab Wimbledon best Petra Kvitova and apple No. 2 Kerber — who won her aboriginal bang at January s Australian Open and additionally accomplished July s Wimbledon final. On the day of the final itself, a alarming force powered her appear history as supporters armed with Puerto Rico flags relentlessly chanted Si se puede — Yes you can — to the underdog. Yes I could and yes I did It was incredible. I adulation fan captivation in any sport, as it s absolutely special, Puig says. It absolutely helped addition me in the third set, back I bare it the most, because I saw that all the army were abetment me and absent it so much, and it fabricated me appetite it alike more. They got me to accept that Yes, I can — and yes I could and yes I did. So absorbed were Puerto Ricans with Puig that there were no appear murders on the day of the final, which the bounded badge arch credits to the tennis. Usually, badge say, there are amid two and seven murders every weekend amid a citizenry of about 3.7 million. That day anybody in Puerto Rico was calm because they were watching the game, Superintendent José L. Caldero López told . A few canicule later, a accession array was staged in the basic San Juan for Puerto Rico s Olympic athletes. Puig, the island s alone advocate in Rio, was the banderole allure for the bags who lined the route. She says the scenes were as sensational as they were emotional. I saw accomplishment in the eyes of a lot of people. I saw happiness. I saw acceptance that things can about-face around, Puig explains. When you see that, it gives you goose bumps. To see how abundant this absolutely meant to them is incredible. Bodies — back they see me — they cry. They see me as this hero. They say thank you. I say, I didn t do much, but acknowledge you for your support. Hope, flags and a sea of her own portraits aside, Puig additionally saw a cardinal of tennis rackets actuality coiled by the army — acknowledging the ability of a long-held dream. To accomplish tennis a little added accepted in the island has consistently been a ambition back I aboriginal started apery Puerto Rico, she says. It s not one of our ability sports, so for me to be able to advance that is abundantly amazing, and the actuality that it s acceptable so big and that there are added requests for tennis courts says a lot. I accomplishment that in future, Puerto Rico can become accepted for tennis. Golden GirlsDespite the headlines, Puig is not the aboriginal Puerto Rican tennis amateur to win Olympic gold — but she is the aboriginal to do so for the island. Gigi Fernandez represented Puerto Rico at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, area tennis was a affirmation sport, but had switched adherence to the United States back she won the women s doubles titles in 1992 and 1996. Fernandez has been heavily trolled on amusing media because of her defection by some Puerto Ricans, while Puig has been bathing in adulation — with pop stars Ricky Martin and Jenifer Lopez (both of whom accept Puerto Rican parentage) amid those praising her achievement. The Miami-based Puig believes the aplomb acquired from Rio will account her throughout her career and addition her affairs of acceptable a admirable bang title. She was seeded for the aboriginal time at the US Open, the No. 32, but absent in beeline sets to China s 61st-ranked Saisai Zheng — and accustomed afterwards she still has abundant to learn. These are new amnion for me, new territory. I m activity to accept to alpha accepting acclimated to it, Puig told reporters. I charge to accumulate cutting up as abundant acquaintance as I can. This isn t activity to be the aftermost of me. I apperceive I m activity to accumulate alive hard. Visit .com/tennis for added account and videosPuig already has one date durably earmarked: the Tokyo Olympics of 2020. I am acquisitive to avert my gold badge there, she told Open Court. If it happens, great, and if not, at atomic I can say I accept Rio. She s not talking about her dog.

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