I am not Puerto Rican, I cannot speak personally to what you are feeling, but I can identify an immediate difference in a Puerto Rican gold, and an American one.
America wins more medals, and more gold medals, than any other nation. We have a number of athletes who are expected to take the gold. We have a number of events that we dominate, where it takes a miracle for us to lose. Standing on that podium may be a special moment for Phelps, or Ledecky, or Biles, but to the rest of America it’s expected. We have no cultural memory of not winning.
That makes it very different. For Puerto Rico this was not expected. It was not an everyday occurrence by a dominant nation. Instead this was an individual athlete, a member of a small island nation, making her mark on the world and saying, “I matter too. Puerto Rico can stand strong with the greatest nations of the world as an equal on this day.”
Puerto Rico wasn’t taking their 976th gold like the United States has. Puerto Rico took their first. That’s a much bigger thing.