CHRIS BARRETT August 06, 2012
Victorious ... Venus, left, and Serena Williams celebrate their win. Photo: Getty Images
To the pantheon of Olympic athletes that have won three gold medals in the same event - Carl Lewis, Dawn Fraser, Michael Phelps and the rest - add the names Serena and Venus Williams.
The American sisters now have four gold medals each in their collection following their 6-4, 6-4 triumph in the women's doubles final over Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic on Sunday.
Both have a singles gold - Venus won in Sydney 12 years ago, while Serena achieved a career 'golden slam' with her victory over Maria Sharapova on Saturday - but in the women's doubles category they have been utterly dominant since the 2000 Olympics. Winners in Sydney, Beijing and now London (they did not play together in Athens) their unseeded status at SW19 was highly misleading.
On the same turf only a month ago they had teamed to win a fifth Wimbledon doubles title while Serena won a fifth singles crown to equal Venus's tally. They may as well be given the keys to the All England Club because they essentially own it. The same can be said for Olympic doubles. When they are in the field, no one else gets a look-in.
"We've been winning this title since 2000 but it's easier said than done," Venus insisted. "We come in as the favourites but it's not a given. We're glad to keep the medal for us.
"Now that we both have four gold medals, it's great. In our house there's a party. Whenever we're at home and times get down we go look at our golds and we're back up. It's something of intense motivation for us."
The scary proposition for combinations from rival countries and their own is that both Williams are not yet done despite their age. Venus is 32 but is adamant she is setting her sights towards the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro even if she is only playing doubles by then. It would be her fifth appearance at an Olympics. Serena, at 30, has already matched Steffi Graf in winning every grand slam plus an Olympic gold medal but says she is nowhere near calling time on her remarkable career.
"I think nowadays tennis players are seeing that you can play great tennis into your 30s," Venus said. "I think a lot of people were brainwashed early that you had to quit. It's not really the way it is. By the time you get to this age you really understand the game, the nuances, you're just getting better. As long as you can stay healthy enough to play ... it would be great."
Serena added: "We don't do it for any other reason outside of pure joy. It's a great opportunity to do something that you love every day. You know. not everyone gets to do that. We really enjoy these moments.
"I'll be there (in Rio) if I'm healthy and playing. I hope to be playing by then, 100 per cent. I have titles to defend."