Serena Williams is following in the footsteps of legend Althea Gibson not only on the tennis court but in having her image on an “iconic orange box.”
“I am so excited to be on the cover of the next Wheaties box,” Williams said in a statement. “I have dreamt of this since I was a young woman and it’s an honor to join the ranks of some of America’s most decorated athletes. I hope my image on this iconic orange box will inspire the next generation of girls and athletes to dream big.”
Williams also posted a photo of the Wheaties box on Tuesday via Instagram and recognized Althea Gibson.
“In 2001, Wheaties paid homage to a true champion and an icon by putting her on the cover of a Wheaties box. Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box. Today, I am honored to be the second.”
It took General Mills 20 years to honor Williams after Althea Gibson’s cover. Williams is a four-time Olympic gold medalist. She has 72 career titles.
Gibson was the first tennis player to cross the sport’s color lines. She won her first Glam Slam in 1956 — a French Open championship — and won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals the next year. In total, Gibson won 11 Grand Slam titles and is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
She was a member of the inaugural class of the Women Sports Foundation’s International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
Also this month, Serena Williams became the only woman listed on Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
The Women’s Tennis Association tweeted:
— WTA (@WTA) June 25, 2019
Althea’s wheaties box from 2001. pic.twitter.com/CRdtpgVSYk
— Bri ??♂️?? (@4TheTennis) June 25, 2019