The Return of Our Champion
When Serena Williams gave birth to her beautiful daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., I didn't think she would be back on the court for some time. The new mother had surpassed some severe complications during delivery due to the medical staff dismissing her pleas that something was awry. Serena, a world-class athlete and possibly the greatest female tennis player whose very livelihood is her body, its flexibility and limits, and the magic it creates on the court was immediately dismissed by medical practitioners.
In her eye opening profile in Vogue Magazine, she shines light on her personal story as well as black women's maternal health and the life-threatening implications of medical racial bias. I remember finishing the piece so grateful that she was so self-aware, knowledgeable, FINALLY BELIEVED, cared for, and able to recover from such potentially fatal complications. I also wondered how many more stories were like hers that go neglected and untold. I knew she had a steady road of recovery ahead.
But who was I kidding? This is THE SERENA WILLIAMS I am speaking of! And like the superwoman and stellar athlete she is, she returned to the game with a vengeance.
Less than ten months after giving birth, she was competing in the final round of Wimbledon. The comeback story everyone was talking about. The stands were filled with A-list stars including close friend and new royal, Meghan Markle, The Dutchess of Sussex. It was an intense and emotional match but Angelique Kerber was the victor.
Serena quickly taking in the moment of defeat, took a deep breath and immediately congratulated her worthy opponent. And then the moment came that sent me and millions into an immediate emotional spiral. Serena Williams was interviewed regarding the match and her amazing return to the Wimbledon.
And this is what she said.
You could hear the cracking in her voice. The fight against her own tears. Her struggling to come to terms that it was over and that she had not reigned victorious. It was filled with an emotional journey from that hospital room to the intense training to the Wimbledon court where she many times stood victorious. It was the acknowledgement of the new chapter and wonderful journey of motherhood to the great hope of returning a champion. It was laying heavy on her heart. She was playing for us; ALL OF US.
A black woman, a new mother, and an elite athlete who beat the odds to be here on the world stage reminding us to go for it and give it our all.
And for that she will always be our champion.