August 5, 2012 – London Olympics
The day started off with a proper English shower of rain followed by puffy clouds and fresh air. I was finally able to wear the big rain boots that took up way too much room in my suitcase. I used this opportunity to walk through puddles while the crowds next to me had to weave in and out of the sidewalk puddles on the trek to Wimbledon to watch the women’s singles and men’s doubles golden matches.
Yesterday, we witnessed Serena Williams blow Sharapova off the grass. Sharapova grunted loudly every time she hit the ball, but the grunts didn’t help her win more than 1 game the whole day. Serena was dignified and as elegant as ever and won 6-0, 6-1. The tennis-player/fashion designer was dressed for success. I knew she was expecting to win the gold because she wore a big golden hair tie that matched her gold medal perfectly. Talk about accessorizing! The ceremony was beautiful, but eventful when the USA flag flew right off the hinges and hit the ground. The flag faux pas didn’t keep Serena from smiling and jumping up and down in joy after the National Anthem finished.
The Bryan Brothers followed suit with another Golden performance beating the French team 6-4, 7-6. The games were filled with volleys and hits, but the Bryan brothers never lost their composure or the pep in their step and bounced up and down between points like the bunnies in the Duracell battery commercial. The twins worked in unison as one and seemed to know what the other was thinking without having to speak much, while the French team consulted with each other nearly every point.
This morning the indefatigable determined William’s sisters won yet another Gold for team USA in Women’s doubles easily defeating the Czech Republic duo Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4. This victory was a repeat of last month’s Wimbledon final, when the Williams sisters also won in straight sets on Centre Court.
By all accounts team USA is the Tennis Powerhouse with 3 out of a possible 5 Gold medals and 1 Bronze, but this Sunday, sunny Sunday, was the “big day” for England. England, despite hosting one of the world’s most famous tennis match, has not won a title at Wimbledon for 76 years and has not won a single gold medal in tennis for over 100 years. In 1908, when London hosted the Olympics, England, was Great Britain, winning all 6 Gold medals, where they hosted 4 gold matches exclusively for men (Mens’ singles, doubles, indoor singles and indoor doubles and 2 gold matches for women (Women’s singles and doubles (no indoor event for women). I have no idea why Women were not allowed to play indoor tennis, but that is for another article.
Today, the Swiss cool-as-a-cucumber Roger Federer would face the English smiling-man Andy Murray. Only four weeks ago, to the day, Federer had blown Murray to pieces and won the Wimbledon title, but today was different in many ways.
The normally austere Wimbledon crowd filed with “proper” people who whisper and say “SHHH” after points, was replaced by screaming Union Jack fans doing waves and screaming after nearly every point. It reminded me of being at a USC UCLA football game, only all of the fans were rooting for one team – GB!
It started to get hot, and I knew Federer was getting tired when he kept asking for a towel. Meanwhile Murray was jumping around on his side of the court soaking in the home-town advantage. Although Federer appeared to have more pep in his step after he ate a banana during a break, his bubble soon fizzled. Murray beat Federer in three straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
Federer immediately left the arena after the loss, while Murray jumped into crowd giving his girl friend, mother and even a young fan hugs. The crowd went wild. It was as if they had won more than just a Gold medal, they had restored their pride in their country. The match left many inspired with renewed hope that anything is possible.