U.S. Swimmer Simone Manuel Makes History With Olympic Gold in 100m Freestyle
By Meredith B. Kile
The buzz at the Rio Olympics on Thursday was all about Simone Biles’ dominant gold medal win in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition. That is, until another American athlete named Simone dove into the pool to make Olympic history.
Simone Manuel, a 20-year-old Texas native who currently swims for Stanford, made history with her surprising win in the 100m freestyle, tying with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak to take gold and set the Olympic record with a time of 52.70 seconds.
The win makes Manuel the first African-American woman ever to win an individual swimming medal in the Olympics, and the significance was not lost on the sprinter as she emotionally celebrated after the win.
“It’s definitely been a long journey these past four years. I’m just so blessed to have a gold medal,” Manuel tearfully told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya after her race. “This medal is not just for me, it's for a bunch of people who have come before me and have been an inspiration to me.”