Long considered to be the “breakfast of champions,” Wheaties is honouring tennis great Serena Williams as the latest star athlete to grace the cereal’s iconic orange box.
An announcement made Tuesday by General Mills, manufacturer of Wheaties, includes an image of the cereal box, featuring a photo of the 37-year-old tennis star in a moment of pure triumph.
“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!” says Taylor Gessell, manager in Brand Experience at General Mills. “It truly signifies a championship moment.”
While Williams’ athletic accomplishments are legion — seven-time women’s player of the year, 23 major singles titles, 14 major doubles titles, ranked #1 in women’s singles eight times between 2002 and 2017 — she is the first tennis player to be featured on a Wheaties box since Andre Agassi in 2004, and only the fourth female tennis player to ever appear.
“I am so excited to be on the cover of the next Wheaties box,” Williams said in the announcement. “I have dreamt of this since I was a young woman and it’s an honour 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.”
According to Gessel, Williams was a natural choice for Wheaties, and not just because of her athletic accomplishments.
“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. Serena was named an overwhelming amount of times,” he explained. “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.”
Williams took to Instagram to share a photo of her Wheaties box with her 11.1 million followers, writing that she’s only the second black female tennis player to have her own Wheaties box.
“In 2001, Wheaties paid homage to a true champion and an icon by putting her on the cover of a Wheaties Box,” she wrote. “Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box. Today, I am honoured to be the second.”