Tennis Olympic medalists, Seoul 1988

Steffi Graf: There’s no comparison in tennis for the feeling of standing on the Olympic podium

Steffi Graf, who took home 3 Olympic medals (gold and bronze in 1988, silver in 1992), shares her Olympics memories in the ITF Olympic book:

There’s no comparison in tennis for the feeling of standing on the Olympic podium listening to your country’s anthem. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride. It was a moment I certainly will never forget.

It’s the same game, same format, yet entirely different [to other tennis experiences].
For example, in the Fed Cup you play for your country on a team. In the Olympics you play for your country as an individual. Winning for something greater than oneself in tennis is a privilege that only the Olympics can provide.

We have the pillars of our sport and the Olympics. Each is difficult and rewarding for its own reasons. It is impossible for me to separate all that was asked and given. The special feeling of winning for my country allowed millions of people to share in that moment with me.

After all this time, to be an Olympic gold medallist feels… How can I say this? Incredible! I keep my medal in a very safe place.

My fondest memories are of taking part in the opening ceremonies at Seoul and Barcelona and staying in the Olympic Villages. It was fascinating to be able to talk with the other athletes from all the different sports, cultures and backgrounds. We had a lot of fun guessing which country and sport they represented.

I also loved being a spectator at some of the other sporting events. Being able to see the events live was thrilling. As a big fan of track and field watching the 100 metres final was a highlight. The team spirit, and seeing the athletes give everything for their sport and come together to support one another, is to this day very inspiring.

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