Simone Manuel Becomes First Black Woman to Win Individual Swimming Medal
American swimmer Simone Manuel won the gold medal in the 100m individual freestyle event at the 2016 Summer Olympics on Thursday night.
With her historic feat, Manuel becomes the first African American woman to win an individual swimming medal.
But she wasn’t alone. The 20-year-old swimmer from Sugar Land, Texas, tied for first with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak in the 100-meter freestyle. Both women broke the Olympic record with a double gold situation in one of the most electrifying finishes in the Games: they hit the wall on 52.70s. Sarah Sjostrom from Sweden finished third in 52.99.
It was even more memorable in light of the quality of opposition on the night. Manuel stood on the blocks with reigning world champion Bronte Campbell from Australia on her right; to her left, current world-record holder Cate Campbell, Bronte’s sister.
But she wasn’t the least bit intimidated. She swam like she owned the pool and touched the wall first, winning her second Olympic medal at the Rio Games after helping the U.S. women swim to a silver medal in the 4×100 free on Sunday night.
She also becomes the first black woman to win the 100 free at an Olympic Games since 1984, when Carrie Steinseifer and Nancy Hogshead tied for gold, Team USA writes.
Not bad for someone who got into swimming because she doesn’t like to sweat.
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