BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 30: Venus Williams of the United States returns a shot in the Women's Singles second round match against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on Day three of 2019 China Open at the China National Tennis Center on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Venus Williams

Athlete

Top-ranked tennis star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams road to greatness began in Compton, CA—playing the sport of kings on municipal courts in a neighborhood torn by drugs and gang violence. Coached by their father, Richard, Venus and her younger sister Serena showed a natural aptitude for the game, quickly advancing to amateur competition thanks to their speed, power and agility. Since going pro in 1994, Venus has been recognized as one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time. In 2002, she became the World’s No. 1 female tennis player for the first time, the second African American woman to achieve the feat. Her powerful serve—once clocked at 130 miles per hour—is the fastest recorded by any woman.