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.

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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 ESPNAnthony 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.