Last night [Thursday, August 11], Simone Manuel, 20, became the first female African-American swimmer to win individual Olympic medal. In fact, she tied for the gold in the 100-meter freestyle with Penny Oleksiak of Canada.
.@simone_manuel makes history.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 12, 2016
Manuel and Oleksiak finished the race in 52.70 seconds, which broke the Olympic record. When she was told of her accomplishment after the race, Manuel told NBC’s sideline reporter:
“I’m just so blessed to have a gold medal. This medal is not just for me. It’s for a whole bunch of people who came before me and have been an inspiration to me. … It’s for all the people after me who believe they can’t do it, and I just want to be an inspiration to others that you can do it.”
According to ESPN, Anthony Ervin is the only African-American male to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming. Bizarrely, he too tied for first, in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 Olympics. A fellow Simone, Simone Biles, won gold in the all-around gymnastics competition, and is now being called one of, if not the greatest female gymnasts of all-time.
A golden day to be a Simone. pic.twitter.com/VKx72ZwK1Y
— ESPN (@espn) August 12, 2016