Venus Williams

The Olympics are almost here!

As Venus begins continues her comeback in professional tennis, she has her sights set on one other goal: An Olympic gold medal.

Venus already has three Olympic god medals in her trophy case, winning two in 2000, for singles and doubles, and then winning doubles again (partnered with her sister Serena) in 2008. In fact, she is tied for the most gold medals in history ever won by a single tennis player. With so much glitter on the shelf, and a challenging pro schedule, why chase down another medal?

“There is nothing like winning the Olympics,” she says. “The whole experience of going to the Olympics is amazing, and if you can come out on top, that is just the icing on the cake. The first time I won, I think I took it for granted. I was happy I won but I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did in 2008. I would appreciate it even more now.”

Venus appreciates the rare thrill it is to have the honor of playing in the Olympic Games. While a lackluster performance at a WTA tournament can be mitigated by a stellar performance at the next event, the stakes at the Olympics are high. There is less room for error than ever. For Venus, that’s what makes it so exciting.

“You do or die at the Olympics. I think that’s why everyone relates to sports in general, and specifically the Olympics. There are no ‘do-overs,’” she says. “People see that moment of suffering or that elation and they live that with you. And to share that moment with the world is amazing.”

Believe it or not, winning isn’t the only thing that is drawing her to compete in another Olympics. The three weeks spent in the Olympic Village is an experience beyond compare.

“The spirit of competition is so amazing. Everyone is so happy to be there,” she says. “That is what really makes it: meeting the other athletes, getting to know them, learning about their countries. We meet a lot of people in this world, but there is something about being able to associate with the athletes at the Olympics that is so unforgettable.”

With her professional comeback under way, the launch of her brand new clothing line EleVEN, and the constant up-and-downs of living with an incurable disease Sjögrens, it is difficult to predict what the competitive landscape looks like day to day, much less year to year.

“I would like to play in two more Olympic Games before I am done playing tennis,” she says. “I would love to at least play doubles at the 2016 Olympics. I think that is possible. We’ll see how life goes.”