How Serena Williams' Daughter Olympia Got Her Name

Serena Williams is unquestionably the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) when it comes to tennis. But for her family, she's the GMOAT (Greatest Momma Of All Time) too. In February 2018, Williams' husband, Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, bought four giant billboards proclaiming that very sentiment in honor of Williams returning to tennis competition just five months after giving birth to their first baby. Ohanian posted the billboards on Instagram with the caption: "Designed them myself, with some help from Jr." 

It may have been a slightly over-the-top gesture but it was also super sweet, and we love to see that kind of public support from a husband. The couple's daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was born on September 1, 2017. She clearly got her first and last names from her father, and it's pretty rare, but also fantastic, to see a cross-gender Jr. and Sr. 

But the littlest Ohanian doesn't go by Alexis; instead, she tends to be referred to by her middle name. And, while Alexis may have been named after her father, her middle name, Olympia, connects her to her mother. Serena liked it because she wanted a strong name for her daughter that would help her get through life whenever things got hard, as she explained during an appearance on "The Shine Series." 

Serena Williams wanted a strong name for her daughter

The name Olympia has Greek origins and means "from Mount Olympus," according to The Bump. In Greek mythology, gods and goddesses ruled from Mount Olympus, so it's definitely a name that's all about strength and power. Plus, Serena Williams is a four-time Olympic champion, so the name really is ideal for her daughter. In fact, Williams went in-depth on "The Shine Series," with Stuart Weitzman, about wanting her daughter to have a name that means strength. 

"If you're a woman or if you're a woman of color, you really need to be strong and you really need to stand up, and you can't allow anything to run you over," the legendary athlete explained. And for Williams, being a woman is all about strength. The tennis icon talked about how she guessed that she was pregnant with a girl as she was playing in the extreme heat of the Australian Open while two months pregnant. 

Williams recalled thinking, "This is definitely a girl because no boy would be able to handle all the stuff that I'm putting this kid through." As a result, "I wanted her to have a name that could help her when she's facing [tough] times." After searching for something that encompassed this idea to its fullest extent, she landed on Olympia and, in more ways than one, it fit perfectly. 

Olympia's dream of being a big sister came true

Serena Williams unquestionably had to be strong herself when she delivered Olympia. The celebrated athlete had to have a C-section, and she simultaneously advocated for her own healthcare to get treatment for the blood clots that had previously threatened her life. Williams ended up having multiple surgeries and, after finally being freed to go home with her new daughter, spent six weeks on bed rest.

About five years after Olympia was born, Williams retired from tennis to focus on her family. Less than a year after that, Williams used the 2023 Met Gala to announce that she was pregnant with her second child, setting up her daughter Olympia to be a big sister. The former tennis player later shared the adorable moment when she and her husband broke the news to Olympia about the upcoming addition to their family.

Happily, Olympia was over the moon at the thought. Olympia's reaction makes total sense considering, in Williams' Vogue essay about her retirement, she wrote about how she had dreamed of having a younger sibling, more specifically a little sister. Olympia's wish came true when Adira River Ohanian was born on August 22, 2023. And judging by an adorable Instagram post of the two girls together, Olympia was absolutely thrilled.