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History of Olympic tennis medalists in Women's Singles

Thu 15 July 2021 | 4:30

A detailed look at Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles with additional information about the career of each of the more famous players.

Tennis was first included in a Summer Olympic sport in the 1896 Olympic Games, which was held in Athens, Greece. In the first Olympic Games, only two tournaments were played: men's singles and men's doubles. Women were allowed to compete in singles and mixed doubles tennis events at the next Olympic Games in 1900, held in Paris, France. Tennis was not included in the official Olympic program from 1928 and 1984. It was re-included as a medal sport in 1988.

Women's singles have been held a total of 13 times at the history of the Olympics. An interesting fact about the history of women's tennis medalists in women's single is that no player has been able to win the event twice. The famous German player, Steffi Graf is the only one who has won two medals in Women's singles. (A Gold Medal in 1988 and a silver in 1992).

If you consider the doubles events as well, Kathleen McKane Godfree (one gold, two silvers, and two bronzes) and Venus Williams (four gold, one silver) are the all-time record holders for the most Olympic medals in tennis. The famous American sisters, Venus Williams and Venus Williams are the record holders with four gold medals. Between them, Venus has won another silver and is the record holder in the overall category. 

Among all the winners of the Gold medal in the history of the Women's singles events, 5 have been from the USA. The Great Britain and France have won two Golds each and four countries (Germany, Belgium, Russia, and Puerto Rico) have won one Gold Medal.

In the Silver medals list Russia is the record holder with 4. France is next with 3 medals and Great Britain and Germany have each won 2. Other winners are Spain and Argentina which have won 1 Silver medal each.

United States and Great Britain have each won three bronze medals. The Czech Republic has the second best record with 2 Medals and seven countries have won it once (Bohemia, Norway, Bulgaria, Spain, Australia, Russia and Belarus). In the following article we will have a brief look at all the winners in the list of the

Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles

.

Everything about the Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles

In this part of our article on the Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles we will have a look at each of the 13 Olympic Games which included Women's singles. 

1900 (Paris)

The first Olympic Games in our article on the Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles is the 1900 Olympics at Paris, France.

A total of 26 players from 4 nations competed at the Paris Games which were played at the Cercle des Sports de l'Île de Puteaux. At the women's singles, Charlotte Cooper of Great Britain wrote her name in the history books by winning the first ever gold medal in the history. She was also the first individual female Olympic champion. Her opponent at the final was Helene Prevost of France. Two players, France Marion Jones from United States and Hedwiga Rosenbaumová from Belarus jointly won the Bronze Medal.

Some of the interesting facts about the first medalists in women's singles are:

  • Charlotte Cooper won five Wimbledon titles during her career. In addition to the Gold medal at the 1900 Olypmpics, she also won Gold in the doubles. She Married Alfred Sterry, a solicitor, who became president of the Lawn Tennis Association. She had two children, both pursued a career in tennis. Cooper was deaf since she was 26 years old until she died in 1966.

  • Marion Jones was the daughter of Nevada Senator John Percival Jones who co-founded the town of Santa Monica in California.

1904 (St. Louis) Women's Singles was not included in the Olympic program

1908 (London)

Overall, 50 tennis players (Men and Women) participated in this year's events. Women's events were contested, with women's singles (but not women's doubles or mixed doubles) and indoor women's singles. At the final Dorothea Lambert Chambers of Great Britain defeated her countrywomen, Dora Boothby and won the Gold Medal. Another player from Britain, Ruth Winch won the Bronze Medal.

Interesting facts:

  • The Gold Medal winner, Dorothea Lambert Chambers also won five Wimbledon titles during her career. She kept on playing into his fifties and famously won a single and a double title at the Wightman Tournament at the age of 46. For his accomplishments, She was induced the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981.

  • The Silver Medal winner, Dora Boothby lived with her step-parents until her teenage years.

1912 (Stockholm)

82 tennis players (69 men and 13 women) from 14 countries participated in the 1912 Olympic Games. In the Women's singles event the Gold Medal went to Marguerite Broquedis of Great Britain who defeated the German player, Dorothea Köring 4–6, 6–3, 6–4 in the final. Molla Bjurstedt of Norway won the Bronze Medal.

Interesting Facts:

  • Marguerite Broquedis won six singles titles at the French Covered Court Championships during her illustrated career.

  • The Silver Medal winner, Dorothea Köring also won a gold medal in the mixed doubles event with Heinrich Schomburgk.

  • Silver Medal winner, Molla Bjurstedt was the first women to represent Norway at the Olympics.

1920 (Antwerp)

A total of eight tennis events were contested divided over two tournaments; an indoor covered courts tournament, played on wood and an outdoor hard court tournament, played on clay. 75 tennis players (52 men and 23 women) from 14 nations played at this year's events. At the women's singles Suzanne Lenglen of France won the Gold after beating Dorothy Holman of Britain in the final. The Bronze Medal went to Kitty McKane of the Great Britain.

Interesting facts:

  • Suzanne Lenglen is widely considered as the best women tennis player from the amateur era. During her career, she won 8 Grand Slam singles titles, 10 World Championship titles and 6 Wimbledon titles. She was nicknamed The Goddess by the French media. She had a premature death and died at the early age of 39.

  • The Silver medal winner, Godfree is the record holder for most Olympic medals ever won by a tennis player with five medals at the 1920 Antwerp and 1924 Paris games. She married another tennis player, Leslie and the two are the only married couple ever to win the mixed doubles championship at Wimbledon.

1924 (Paris)

124 tennis players from 27 countries participated in the Paris event. In the final of Women's singles Helen Wills of the United States defeated Julie Vlasto of France to win the Gold Medal. Kitty McKane of the Great Britain won her first of two back-to-back Silver medals in the 1924 Olympics. United States was the winner of this year's tennis events as their tennis players won every medal in the Men's and Women's single and double competitions.

Interesting facts:

  • Helen Wills was the World's best women tennis player in a total of nine years. She used to play against men to improve her skills. She famously beat a top US male player in an exhibition match in 1933. She was also a poet and published two of her works.

  • Silver medal winner, Kitty McKane is the most decorated female British Olympian.

From 1928 to 1984 Tennis was not included at the Olympic Games

1988 (Seoul)

We continue our article on the Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles with the 1988 Olympics at Seoul South Korea.

At the 1988 Olympic Games, Tennis was re-included in the Summer Olympic Games, having been left out since the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Two exceptions were the 1968 and 1984 Summer Olympics, at which Tennis was a demonstration sport. Legendary German player, Steffi Graf won the Gold medal after beating the Argentinian, Gabriela Sabatini in the final. The Bronze Medal went to Zina Garrison (United States) and Manuela Maleeva (Bulgaria).

Interesting facts:

  • Steffie Graf was the only tennis player to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year. She is also the only player, male or female, to have won each Grand Slam tournament at least four times.

  • According Silver Medal winner, Gabriela Sabatini, she was so shy at her youth that she used to deliberately lose her semi-final matches to avoid the interview on court after the final.

1992 (Barcelona)

Next Olympic Games in our article on the Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles is the 1992 event at Barcelona, Spain. The final of the Women's singles was a legendary one as the American teenager, Jennifer Capriat stunned the defending champions, Steffie Graf and won the Gold Medal. The Bronze Medal went to Mary Joe Fernández (United States) and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (Spain).

Interesting facts:

  • The American sensation, Jennifer Capriati started his professional career at the age of 13 and became the youngest ever player to reach the top ten in the Women's ranking one year later. She won the Olympic gold medal when she was 16 years old.

  • Soon after her burst into the scenes, Capriati had a difficult time and had to leave the sport for almost 14 months, during which he was arrested few times for shoplifting and possession of Marijuana.

  • Mary Joe Fernández's husband, Tony Godsick is the current agent of legendary Swiss player, Roger Federer.

1996 (Atlanta)

A big change in this year's competitions was that for the first time since the 1924 Olympics, a single bronze medal was awarded in each event. In the final of the Women's singles event, Lindsay Davenport of the United States defeated the 1992 Bronze medal winner, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario of Spain. The Bronze Medal went to Jana Novotná of the Czech Republic.

Interesting facts:

  • Gold Medal winner, Lindsay Davenport was born into a family of athletes. Her father, Wink Davenport, was a member of the U.S. volleyball team at the 1968 Olympics and her mother, Ann Davenport is the president of the Southern California Volleyball Association. Her two sister also pursuit a professional career at volleyball.

2000 (Sydney)

The women's singles at the Sydney Olympics was highlighted by the emergence of the legendary American player, Venus Williams as she won her first of a record 5 Olympic medals. Williams defeated Elena Dementieva of Russia in the final and also won the doubles gold medal alongside her equally brilliant sister, Serena. Monica Seles of the United States won the bronze medal.

Interesting facts:

  • Venus Williams was a child prodigy. She was discovered by a tennis coach at the age of 6.

  • Williams was once had to withdraw from a match after being diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease which causes fatigue and muscle and joint pain. She only played three exhibition matches in the remainder of that year, one of which was against her sister.

  • Silver medal winner, Elena Dementieva is married to the former Russian Ice Hockey player, Maxim Afinogenov.

  • A comedic band from Colorado, created a song about Dementieva and another famous Russian player, Maria Sharapova. The song is called Dementapova.

  • Bronze winner, Monica Seles once had a very turbulent life period at which she was stabbed and also lost her father because of cancer. She later wrote a memoir of this period and her struggle with depression.

2004 (Athens)

The biggest new change to year's regulation was that for the first time world ranking points were allocated to the players. In the final of women's singles Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium won the Gold medal by defeating Amélie Mauresmo of Paris. Alicia Molik of Australia won the Bronze medal.

Interesting facts:

  • Justine Henin-Hardenne was famous for her rare use of a single-handed backhand.

  • Henin-Hardenne lost her mother, a French and History teacher when she was 12 years old.

  • Amélie Mauresmo decided to become a tennis player when she was only four years old. According to her interviews, she was inspired to make that decision after seeing Yannick Noah's win in the 1983 French Open on television.

  • At 19, Amélie Mauresmo publicly revealed that she is gay. He later stated that confronting her sexuality positively affected her career.

  • Bronze medal winner, Alicia Molik once was sidelined for a whole year due after she was diagnosed with diagnosed an inner-ear condition caused by a virus that affected her balance, vision and energy level. She came back strong and won her second French Open title two years later.

2008 (Beijing)

The 2008

tennis at the summer Olympics

was all about the Russians as they swept away all the three medals at Women's singles event.  Elena Dementieva won the gold medal after defeating her compatriot Dinara Safina while the Bronze Medal went to Vera Zvonareva. It was the first time since 1908 that one country won all the medals in one of the events of tennis at the summer Olympics.

Interesting facts:

  • 2000 Silver medal winner, Elena Dementieva was able to go one step further this time and win the Gold medal.

  • Dinara Safina is the younger sister of former world number one men's player Marat Safin. The brother–sister pair are the first to both achieve No. 1 rankings. Safina's mother was her coach since her childhood years and his father was the director of the Spartak Moscow tennis club. Safina's mother was a famous hockey player and won the bronze medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

  • Elena Dementieva once appeared in the music video of Igor Nikolayev's song 'How Beautiful You Are'.

2012 (London)

The 2012 event was the first Olympic grass court tournament since tennis was re-included as an Olympic sport. 190 players competed in five events. The Women's single was a chance for the famous American player, Serena Williams to join her sister, Venus as gold medalist. Venus Williams won her first and only gold at Women's singles at the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney, Australia. Her opponent in the final was the fan favorite Russian player, Maria Sharapova. Victoria Azarenka of Belarus won the Bronze medal.

Interesting facts:

  • Serena Williams famously won the 2017 Australian Open while she was nine-week pregnant. She played over a thousand matched during her career before retiring in 2021 at the age of 39.

  • Serena Williams is married to Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian. Their first daughter is named, Alexis Olympia and is often referred to as Olympia.

  • Maria Sharapova was the first Russian female tennis player to top the singles rankings.

  • Shortly before Sharapova was born, her parents left their homeland because they were concerned about the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

  • Maria Sharapova has been engaged twice in her love life. once to a Slovenian basketball player and once to an English Businessman.

  • Bronze winner, Victoria Azarenka was inspired in her childhood by two times Olympic medalist, Steffi Graf.

2016 (Rio de Janeiro)

The final event in our article on the

Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles

is the 2016 Olympics at Rio. A total of 172 players competed in five events. A change in the regulations of this year's event was that unlike previous editions of the Olympic event, it was decided that the Olympic tournaments would not offer ATP and WTA ranking points for the players.

The gold medal winner of the women's singles was a surprise as Monica Puig of Puerto Rico defeated German famous player, Angelique Kerber to win her countries first ever Gold medal at the summer Olympics. Petra Kvitová of the Czech Republic won the bronze medal.

Interesting facts:

  • Monica Puig was the first Latin American champion in the women's singles history and is the only unseeded female player to win the gold medal since the reintroduction of tennis in 1988.

  • Puig's mother was from Puerto Rico while her father was Cuban. She once revealed that her grandparents were from Catalonia, Spain.

  • Angelique Kerber was born right-handed but plays with her left hand. Keber started playing tennis at the age of 3. She used to live in a tennis academy, which was were her parent were working when she was a child.

  •  In 2016, Petra Kvitová was the victim of an armed robbery at her apartment. She suffered from serious injuries to her left hand and fingers while trying to defend herself. The attacker was later arrested and sentenced to a total of 11 years in jail.

We conclude our article on the History of Olympic Tennis Medalists in women's singles with a complete

List of Olympic medalists in tennis

at the history of this event.

A complete List of Olympic medalists in tennis (Women's Singles)

1900 (Paris)

Gold - Charlotte Cooper (Great Britain), Silver - Helene Prevost (France) Bronze - France           Marion Jones (United States) and Hedwiga Rosenbaumová (Belarus)

1904 (St. Louis) Women's Singles was not included in the Olympic program

1908 (London)

Gold - Dorothea Lambert Chambers (Great Britain), Silver - Dora Boothby (Great Britain), Bronze - Ruth Winch (Great Britain)

1912 (Stockholm)

Gold - Marguerite Broquedis (Great Britain), Silver - Dorothea Köring (Germany), Bronze - Molla Bjurstedt (Norway)

1920 (Antwerp)

Gold - Suzanne Lenglen (France), Silver - Dorothy Holman (Great Britain), Bronze - Kitty McKane (Great Britain)

1924 (Paris)

Gold - Helen Wills (United States), Silver - Julie Vlasto (France), Bronze - Kitty McKane (Great Britain)

From 1928 to 1984 Tennis was not included at the Olympic Games

1988 (Seoul)

Gold - Steffi Graf (Germany), Silver - Gabriela Sabatini (Argentina), Bronze - Zina Garrison (United States) and Manuela Maleeva (Bulgaria)

1992 (Barcelona)

Gold - Jennifer Capriati (United States), Silver - Steffi Graf (Germany), Bronze - Mary Joe Fernández (United States) and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (Spain)

1996 (Atlanta)

Gold - Lindsay Davenport (United States), Silver - Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (Spain), Bronze - Jana Novotná (Czech Republic)

2000 (Sydney)

Gold - Venus Williams (United States), Silver - Elena Dementieva (Russia), Bronze - Monica Seles (United States)

2004 (Athens)

Gold - Justine Henin-Hardenne (Belgium), Silver - Amélie Mauresmo (France), Bronze - Alicia Molik (Australia)

2008 (Beijing)

Gold - Elena Dementieva (Russia), Silver - Dinara Safina (Russia), Bronze - Vera Zvonareva (Russia)

2012 (London)

Gold - Serena Williams (United States), Silver - Maria Sharapova (Russia), Bronze - Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)

2016 (Rio de Janeiro)

Gold - Monica Puig (Puerto Rico), Silver - Angelique Kerber (Germany), Bronze - Petra Kvitová (Czech Republic)

So here you had it! A complete list of

Olympics Tennis women's Singles Winners

. Who will win the medals in this year's event? Who is the GOAT in the history of Tennis at the Summer Olympics? Please don’t hesitate to share any ideas with us.

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