Simone Manuel Makes History as the First Black American Woman to Win a Gold Medal in Swimming

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Simone Manuel just became the first black American woman to win an individual gold medal in swimming after tying with Canadian Penny Oleksiak in the women’s 100 meter freestyle and setting an Olympic record in the process.

Oleksiak and Manuel finished at 52.70 seconds, both touching the wall at the same damn time. Manuel pulled ahead of Australian favorite Cate Campbell in the last few meters, snatching the gold and making history.

Manuel was very emotional in a post-race interview, saying “This medal’s not just for me, but for a whole bunch of people who came before.” Hmm. While everyone’s been talking about Shmichael Melps the merman, Simone Manuel did the damn thing and won.


“It’s definitely been a long journey these past four years, and I’m just so blessed to have the gold medal,” she said, before dissolving into tears of shock and what I assume was an indescribable amount of joy.

This is the first gold for the United States in this event since 1984.

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