The Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico and its president Sara Rosario Vélez are thrilled, due to the fact that the country won its first gold medal in the Olympic Games, through tennis player Mónica Puig.  

Puerto Rico expects the arrival to the island of their new national heroine, Mónica Puig, whose gold medal is the greatest award achieved by an athlete of this country, a success that goes even further that sport. 

 

It will be next August 23rd when the tennis champion in the Rio 2016 Games will return to her home island for an amazing welcome at the International Airport of San Juan, according to a statement by the president of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee, Sara Rosario Vélez.

Puig, 22 years of age and 34 in the worldwide ranking, probably achieved the greatest feat by a Puerto Rican athlete in history, after being crowned individual tennis champion by defeating in three sets the second seed, German Angelique Kerber.

The match was highly expected by the more than eight million Puerto Ricans around the world, out of which 3,4 live in the Caribbean island and the rest live mostly in the United States. 

Since early in the morning thousands of Puerto Ricans got together at bars, restaurants or homes to watch the historic match.

However, the game was delayed due to the semifinal round match between Argentine Juan Martín del Potro and Spain’s Rafael Nadal.

But as soon as that match was over, Puerto Ricans in the audience began to cheer and send positive vibrations to Puig, who is known by her phrase “Breaking Power”, due to the fact that according to her, “you always have to break stone, fight a lot and do you best”. 

Puerto Rico literally stopped to be part of history and even religious ceremonies, particularly Catholic masses, were delayed, due to the fact that priests were following the match on their cell phones. 

A charity basketball match for a Puerto Rican boy, in which basketball player and former Olympic athlete Carlos Arroyo would be participating, was delayed so the participants and fans could watch the Puig-Kerber match and afterwards, celebrate the win. 

"Monica will have now a very big responsibility and will have to maintain her commitment and respect for the country and its people as a priority, due to the fact that people will now be following her”, Arroyo stated. 

Arroyo, who has played in leagues like the NBA, Spain and Turkey, is very aware of the effect Puig will have, due to the fact that he experienced a great moment for his island when he led the Puerto Rican basketball team in Athens 2004 to defeat the United States basketball team, the first one with NBA players in the Olympic Games. 

Puerto Rico had never won a gold medal until Puig achieved this last Saturday, August 13th, a date that will be marked forever in the island’s history books. 

Since Puerto Rico participates in the Olympic Games, for the first time in London ’48, it had won eight medals, six of them in boxing, a bronze medal won by Javier Culson in the 400 meters hurdles and the silver medal won by wrestler Jaime Espinal, both in London 2012. 

The first medal by a Puerto Rican athlete was won by Juan Evangelista Venegas in London ’48, followed by Orlando Maldonado in Montreal '76, Luis Francisco Ortiz and Arístides González in Los Angeles '84, Aníbal Acevedo in Barcelona '92 and Daniel Santos in Atlanta '96.

Recognized artists born in the island, like Ricky Martin, Chayanne and Luis Fonsi, congratulated Puig on her feat through social media and others with Puerto Rican roots, like Jennifer López, Marc Anthony and Lin-Manuel Miranda congratulated her as well. (Courtesy EFE).

PASO

Pan American Sports Organization

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