A Stanford University student, Simone Manuel has become the first black woman to win Olympic gold in a swimming event at the Olympics.
The 20-year-old American swimmer, Manuel tied with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, 16, to win gold in the 100-meter freestyle event at the #RioOlympics2016 on Thursday night.
She broke down in tears when she discovered she had won gold. She clocked in at 52.70secs to win gold and set a new Olympic record.
Manuel shared: “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.
“The title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or break records.
“That’s not true. I work just as hard as everybody else and I love the sport.”
“It means a lot to me, especially what’s going on in the world today and some of the issues with police brutality.
“This win helps bring hope and change to some of the issues that are going on in the world,” she added.
Oleksiak, who has also won a silver medal in the 100m butterfly and two relay bronze medals in Rio, becomes the first competitor born after 1 January, 2000 to claim an Olympic gold medal in an individual event. She also won Canada’s first gold of the #RioOlympics2016
“This is amazing, to tie for a gold. I never thought I’d win a gold. It means so much. She (Manuel) deserves it as much as me,” Oleksiak said.
Thumbs up Manuel and Oleksiak!