It’s the most important meal of the day, and she’s known as the greatest female tennis player to play the game, so how is it possible we’re just now celebrating Serena Williams getting her own Wheaties box?
As it turns out, Williams is only the second black female tennis player to grace a box of Wheaties and only the fourth female tennis player of all time, following Chris Evert and Alice Marble. In 2001, General Mills paid tribute to the legendary Althea Gibson, one of Williams’ well-known influences, but it would take nearly another two decades for them to honor Williams, who is widely recognized as the “GOAT.”
“I am so excited to be on the cover of the next Wheaties box,” Williams said in a statement on the General Mills blog. “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.”
What was the holdup? Frankly, we don’t know, but to be fair, the Wheaties box, one of the highest cultural honors awarded an athlete, has only ever featured ten tennis players, including Arthur Ashe in 1997. As Glamour points out, other black athletes honored over the years include the very first, Jesse Owens, and 18-time box star Michael Jordan.
As for their latest star, Wheaties seems thrilled to have scored with Serena, featuring her as their entire Instagram grid with the caption, “She’s a Champion.”
“When we started to evaluate who our next athlete would be, we started to go through who we believe are the top athletes of our time,” Taylor Gessell, manager in Brand Experience at General Mills, said in the blog. “Serena was named an overwhelming amount of times.”
“She’s a mother, a very active entrepreneur, an activist, a fashion designer, and all of this while being one of the best tennis players in the world,” added Gessell.
Explaining the triumphant shot chosen for the box, General Mills wrote:
The image chosen of Serena Williams for her Wheaties box, unveiled today, is fitting for a champion on the iconic orange box.
It’s a moment of sheer jubilation and celebration, which she has had so many times in her tennis career.
“We mocked up a few boxes with images for Serena and her team to select from, and it was a unanimous choice to go with that shot–and that white dress–was it!” explained Gessell. “It truly signifies a championship moment.”
Williams’ limited-edition Wheaties box will be available throughout the U.S. over the next month, and while we may be living gluten-free these days, we can guarantee we’ll be hunting for one as a keepsake. Because as noted by Tiffani Daniels, marketing manager for Wheaties, when it comes to the enduring impact of Serena Williams:
“She continues to inspire and spark change to make us all better.”