People took to the streets across Puerto Rico to celebrate the country’s first Olympic gold medal won by woman tennis player Monica Puig at the Rio Games.
The 22-year-old Puig defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the gold medal match on Saturday. Puig is the first Puerto Rican athlete to win an Olympic medal while representing the island. “This is for Puerto Rico. This is definitely for them,” Puig said after her victory on Saturday.
“They’re going through some tough times right now, and they needed this. I needed this. I think I united a nation. I just love where I come from.”
The Puerto Rican player, who has won just one title in her professional career, had a magical run at the Rio Games, becoming the Caribbean island’s first gold medalist.
People gathered in bars and restaurants across Puerto Rico to watch the match, pouring into the streets and waving flags the second Puig sealed the win.
Automobiles clogged Ashford avenue, one of the busiest streets in San Juan, honking their horns in an explosion of joy over the island’s first Olympic gold medal.
Puig’s gold medal gives people in Puerto Rico, which has been mired in a severe economic downturn for nearly a decade, something to celebrate.