Simone Manuel Makes History As First African-American Woman To Win Swimming Gold


Simone Manuel of the United States and 16-year-old Penny Oleksiak of Canada tied for the gold medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, upsetting world-record holder Cate Campbell.

Manuel becomes the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in swimming. American swimmer Cullen Jones, also made history with his gold medals, was one of the first to congratulate her.

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 Australian siblings, who teamed up to lead their country to gold in the 4×100 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 — her fingernails painted red, white and blue — who touched at the same time as Oleksiak, the youngest swimmer in the field.

Manuel broke down in tears when she recognized her historic achievement in a sport that still has few African-Americans.

All I can say is all glory to God,” Manuel told NBC. “It’s definitely been a long journey these past four years, and I’m just so blessed to have the gold medal.”

“This medal is not just for me, it’s for a whole bunch of people who have came before me, and been an inspiration to me and it’s for all the people after me who believe they can’t do it. I want to be an inspiration to them that they can do it.”