Tennis star Jennifer Capriati was just 16- when she won the Womens singles Olympic gold medal in Barcelona. The American came from a set behind to beatthe 23year old Steffi Graf of Germany. Capriati’s Olympic title was one of many the young New Yorker would win in a glittering professional career that included three Grand Slam titles.
Road to the final
The talented Capriati was seeded third for the Olympic tournament and didn’t drop a set on her way to the quarter-finals where she beat Anke Huber of Germany 6-3,7-6. The Spaniard, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, was waiting for her at the semi-final stage and expected to benefit from playing in front of a home crowd. Vicario lost the first set but won the second and that rattled the young American. Capriati’s reply, however, was devastating and she wrapped up the third set 6-1, and with it a place in the Olympic final.
Despite four previous attempts Capriati had never beaten Steffi Graf and she lost the first set of the final in Barcelona. But the crowd at the Vall d'Hebron Olympic tennis stadium seemed to adopt the 16-year old American as their own.
Steffi Graf was already a two-time Olympic gold medal winner and dominant in the womens game at the time. However, she lost the second set 6-3 and double-faulted at four games all in the third. Capriati saw her opportunity and took the third set 6-4 and with it the match and the Olympic title.
Capriati played Steffi Graf ten times in total over her career but the Olympic final in Barcelona was to prove her only victory over the German.