Tennis player Monica Puig rose to international stardom when she became the first athlete — of any sport, and any gender — to win the gold medal for Puerto Rico at the 2016 Rio Olympics, beating the then-#2-ranked Angelique Kerber. For Puerto Ricans, the victory was not just an emotional symbol of the island’s ability to thrive as an independent entity, separate from the United States; it was a triumph of athleticism, and a testament to the island’s rich tennis culture.

A year later, Hurricane María devastated the island while Puig was competing in the Pan Pacific Open. Puig came back to assist in rebuilding and recovery efforts, raising nearly $200,000 through crowdfunding. Though Puerto Rico is now nearing its second year after the disaster, the island’s infrastructure still has not recovered as it prepares for the 2019 hurricane season. Today, voices like Puig’s are making sure that Puerto Rico is not forgotten.

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Source @CaliRicans

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