• Ana de Armas
  • Laurie Hernandez
  • La Borinqueña
  • Diane Guerrero
  • Rosario Dawson
  • Mónica Puig
  • Eiza González Reyna
  • Julissa Arce
  • Melissa Villaseñor
  • Alexa Moreno
  • Alicia Machado
  • America Ferrera

When you bring home the first ever gold medal for your country, it’s safe to say you’ve had a pretty good year. That’s exactly what tennis player Mónica Puig did for Puerto Rico at the 2016 Summer Olympics. The San Juan, Puerto Rico native made history at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, not just by winning the island’s first ever gold medal, but also by being the first woman to ever do it. A Cinderella story if there ever was one, Puig entered Rio unseeded, with little if anyone caring about her first match. However, by match number two people started to ask about her. After she dominated No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza, aka the French Open champion, Puig had everyone in Puerto Rico’s attention. When she went on to beat the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals, well by then she had the whole world watching.

By the time of the gold medal match, it was said that the streets of Puerto Rico were quiet as a church mouse. Why? Everyone was watching the game. However, after she was victorious over second-ranked Angelique Kerber, the streets across Puerto Rico resembled a World Cup victory, with people streaming out of buildings waving flags, cheering, cars honking and people in bars and restaurants celebrating.
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However, Puig probably best summarized what this victory meant, not just for her, but for her country when she said “I know that in Puerto Rico, not many people watch tennis or know what it is all about. But it is amazing how much a moment like that can mean for so many people.”

Image Credits:
© GV Cruz/Getty Images
© Martin Bernetti/Getty Images