World No. 1 and US Open champion Iga Swiatek speaks to CNN to share what it means to be an American under the Trump presidency and describes what it was like to win an Olympic gold medal in judo before it became a political football.
A few months ago, when you were named the world’s best judoka, your political opponent — President Trump suggested that you had disgraced the United States. How did it feel when the president called you a loser?
This is not the way I see what is happening in this country. If anything, it’s a good opportunity to be able to talk about something other than politics, because I’m very happy just being able to take my own personal views regarding things. And to be able to share some of that with the world.
It’s also a way to be able to tell my friends and my family. Because I grew up a strong American, my parents are all American. And to see them being attacked because they’re American, I just can’t really deal with it right now.
“It’s also a way to be able to tell my friends and my family,” says Iga Swiatek
I’ve always been a strong American. We grew up in a very small town in Hungary, and we used to take part in political debates and have been very enthusiastic members of the United States. I feel like I have always come from a very good place in American and my family is very supportive. And I just feel like the attacks are very unfair and I’m not going to let this guy get away with it.
Can you talk about what the Olympic experience was like?
I never imagined any experience would be like that. I had only ever competed in international competitions. So, I never thought I’d have anything like this. I think it’s great that it’s been an opportunity to use my experience and what I’ve learned from it to share other parts of my vision for my country.
How did you see the Olympics used as a platform to push a progressive agenda?
Being able to compete against