AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina were crammed into economy seats for 9 hours even though they paid for business class - and they couldn't have been happier.

The Russian doubles partners were among the women's tennis players caught in travel torment en route to the Olympics after playing an event in Montreal. And on Vesnina's 30th birthday, no less.

Delays in Canada meant they missed their connection in Miami, but they eventually got the last two seats on a flight to Rio de Janeiro, arriving a day-and-a-half later than initially planned.

Once they finally made it, Vesnina said, "We were ready for everything."

"We didn’t complain about anything, food," she added. "Nothing was bothering us. We stick together. We knew why we came here."

They came here to win an Olympic gold medal - and on Sunday, they did just that.

It's been quite the year for Vesnina, who reached her first major singles semifinal at Wimbledon. She also won the Australian Open mixed doubles title with Brazil's Bruno Soares, who told her that earning a medal in Rio makes her "half-Brazilian."

"He was telling me it was going to be incredible," Vesnina said. "He promised me, ‘You will love it here.’ You know, he was right. We love it here. It’s the best place in the world."

Vesnina's journey, in tweets: