The Chris Murray Report’s Athlete of the Year 2012: Serena Williams

By Chris Murray

Overcoming injuries and illness, Serena Williams left competitors in the dust in 2012.

Overcoming injuries and illness, Serena Williams left competitors in the dust in 2012.

For the Chris Murray Report

After thoroughly dominating Maria Sharapova in the gold medal singles final at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, an overjoyed Serena Williams celebrated her win by doing a little dance.

But it wasn’t just any dance. Williams did the Crip Walk, a dance that was often done by the Los Angeles street gang the Crips as they committed acts of violence.

Of course, the  level of misplaced moral outrage in the blogosphere and in the world of Social Media damn near went through the roof. Facebook and Twitter were lit up with people expressing outrage.

Some of the nation’s most prominent sports writers roundly criticized Williams for doing that particular dance because of its association with gang violence. Never mind that the C-Walk is as embedded in pop and rap culture, a culture that also includes demeaning women and using the N-word to the point that you feel like you’re in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

But there was something that got lost through all the overly dramatic sermons admonishing Williams for her apparent petulance and immaturity.

Serena Williams was simply the most dominant athlete in her sport in 2012. Period.  Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open and several other tournaments might as well have been called “The Serena Williams Invitational.”  Last month, the Women’s Tennis Association named Williams as their Player-of-the-Year.

Out of all the athletic performances this calendar year in both team and individual sports, no one was more dominant at their craft than the 31-year-old Williams. From April to October, Williams won 48 of her 50 matches en route to capturing Wimbledon, the Olympic Gold medal and the U.S. Open singles titles.

That’s why we at the Chris Murray Report have named Serena Williams our inaugural Athlete-of-the-Year.  She may not be your personal cup of tea, but when it comes to performance on the field, which is what we measure here, Williams kicked ass where it counted in 2012.

Nearly two years after getting two operations on her right foot, having blood clots in her lungs and blood in the skin of her stomach, Williams won the ladies single title at Wimbledon by defeating Agnieszka Radwanksa in three sets for her first Grand Slam title in two years. Williams at 30-years-old became the oldest women’s tennis player since Martina Navratilova to win a grand-slam title.

And by the way, Serena and her sister Venus also won the Wimbledon Doubles title.

At the Olympic Games in London, Williams ran through the field with relative ease and lost just 17 games in six matches. In the gold medal match Williams defeated Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 in a little over an hour. She also added a gold medal in women’s doubles to her trophy case.

Williams became the third women’s tennis player to win the gold medal and all four Grand Slam tournaments in her career, a feat accomplished by only two other women: Steffi Graff and her sister Venus.

At the U.S. Open, Williams was down 5-4 to Victoria Azarenka, who was serving for the match. But Williams rallied to win the next three games and the match. She capped her 2012 season by winning the WTA Championships in Istanbul.

In a sports calendar year that included Gabby Douglass winning two gold medals in gymnastics, Usain Bolt dominating the Olympic sprint events, LeBron James leading the Miami Heat to an NBA title and Miguel Cabrera winning the American League Triple Crown, something that hasn’t happened since 1967, we thought the way Williams dominated women’s tennis stood a little bit higher than those other outstanding performances.

While folks may find Williams personality a bit off-putting and are not happy with her little dance at the Olympics, the only thing that matters in sports is what an athlete does in the field of play.

During 2012, Williams handled her business.









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