WIMBLEDON, England – Serena Williams annihilated Maria Sharapova to win the women’s tennis singles gold medal at the All-England Club.
When it was over, Williams, who owns 14 major championships as a professional and has earned more prize money than any other female, danced like a 6-year-old in joyous celebration. She beamed during the medal ceremony like this was the first title she'd ever won. And she couldn't keep herself from giggling when the brisk winds blew the U.S. flag down to the ground as it was being raised during the ceremony.
"That was a surprise," Williams said. "It was just so windy."
Williams breezed her way to the gold medal to become the first woman since Steffi Graf to complete the career singles Golden Slam: victories in all four Grand Slam titles plus the Olympics. Throughout these Games she said that winning a gold was a lifelong dream that she didn’t want to take lightly.
She certainly didn’t here in the final.
Using a powerful game that cut through windy conditions, Williams crushed her Russian opponent 6-0, 6-1 in a match that took just 1:03. It was clearly over from the start. Williams lost just 14 points over the match’s first nine games, all of which she won. She routinely blasted aces past Sharapova who was rendered into a weakling against Williams.
[ Photos: Serena Williams crushes Sharapova to win gold ]
When Sharapova managed to capture her first game, the crowd at Wimbledon let out a large cheer and she pumped her fist in celebration.
"I was just so focused; I was blind today," Williams said. "It was just something about this day, something about this tournament."
Williams, 30, who grew up in Los Angeles, has won five major professional titles at Wimbledon, including just a few weeks ago. She desperately wanted an Olympic gold to add a small missing part of her brilliant career, which includes championships in all four majors and nearly $40 million in prize money.
She also said she grew up watching the Games and dreaming of hearing "The Star Spangled Banner" from the top of a podium.
It wasn’t until recently that professional players were allowed to compete in the Games, making her dream unlikely.
When it finally came, Serena on top of her game, in a familiar venue, with gold at her fingertips, she was absolutely dominant.
"This one ranks so high up there," Williams said. "Winning the gold medal – that's pretty awesome." Serena will look for a second gold later this weekend playing women’s doubles with her sister, Venus.
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