Manuel becomes first African American woman to win swim gold
Simone Manuel upset world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia and tied with Penny Oleksiak of Canada at the Rio Games
Simone Manuel leaned her head into her hands and cried when she recognized her historic achievement.
With her victory in the 100-meter freestyle, she became the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.
The 20-year-old Manuel upset world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia and tied with Penny Oleksiak of Canada at the Rio Games on Thursday night.
“I hope that I can be an inspiration to others, so this medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point,” Manuel said.
Campbell was on pace to take her world record even lower when she made the turn out front, with little sister Bronte right behind her. But the Aussie siblings, who teamed up to lead their country to gold in the 4x100 freestyle relay, couldn’t hang on.
Bronte faded to fourth, and Cate dropped all the way to sixth at the finish.
Instead, it was Manuel who touched at the same time as 16-year-old Oleksiak, the youngest swimmer in the field. The Canadian became the first swimmer born in the 21st century to win a gold medal in any Olympic sport.
Manuel and Oleksiak shared the top spot on the medal podium, with the U.S. anthem played first followed by the Canadian anthem. Tears rolled down each of Manuel’s cheeks as she sang along.