Shaq. Peyton. Venus.
All three of those first-name-only stars of sport have now spoken at the Des Moines Register's annual Sports Awards, with Venus Williams the latest – and first female – athlete to headline the event.
"Enjoy the battle," she told the assembled audience of about 1,000 onlookers in Wells Fargo Arena, among them roughly 500 high-school athletes representing 20-plus sports. "Just get out there and compete. Enjoy it and learn from it."
Sometimes you go to random events because the guest speaker is an icon. @Venuseswilliams , thank you for making the trip to Des Moines. You made our day! Best of luck at Wimbledon. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/z7xvdiRv6S— Bess Jacobson (@BeatriceMarie) June 24, 2018
Asked by the Register's Allen Vaughan what she values more, an Olympic gold medal or a Grand Slam championship, Williams responded as her longtime fans know she would. She opted for the former, and once again touted the overall Olympic experience.
Also from the Register's post-event write-up:
"Williams described the Iowa athletes she met Saturday as humble and hard-working, saying she was inspired by them and needed to raise her children in the Midwest. As part of her advice, Williams, who was a professional athlete at the age of 14, told the crowd that sometimes losing brought her 'higher than winning.'"
When Vaughan good-naturedly inquired as to whether it was fair that she and sister Serena Williams compete together in doubles action, Venus quipped, "No, it's not fair. That's what we like about it."
Their intra-family pairing boasts 14 major doubles titles together, including six at the impending Wimbledon championships. After Serena suffered a pectoral muscle injury during the French Open, the duo remains in doubt for tandem play in London.
Venus met with award winners backstage for photo-ops and chats, including recipients of All-Iowa high-school sports and Special Olympic recognitions.
Now she moves from Des Moines to London, with love.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.
A LANDMARK DOCUMENTARY DURING THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENT IN SPORTS, CELEBRATING THE UNPARALLELED FEDERER-RIVALRY AND 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREATEST MATCH EVER PLAYED.
In association with All England Lawn & Tennis Club, Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment and Amblin Television. Directed by Andrew Douglas.