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

Image via Getty
Image via Getty

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.

Senior Writer, Jezebel



This is SO AWESOME. Just yesterday I was wondering about the lack of black swimmers in the Olympics, and an acquaintance (who I plan to avoid from now on) explained to me that black people just can’t swim well, because like body proportions yada yada bullshit. She GENUINELY believes this. OH GOD THE RAGE FIT I HAD. AND NOW THIS. GO SIMONE GO! YOU ARE FUCKING AMAZING!