Simone Manuel Is The First African American To Win Gold In Swimming


It’s a great day to be a Simone!

The Olympic-sized hype for Simone Biles is due to her historic run at obtaining five gold medals in gymnastics. Last night, Simone Manuel was at the center of it all after competing in one of the most exciting races during the Rio Olympics. The 20-year-old game changer secured her place in history by racing to a tie for gold in an exhilarating 100m women’s freestyle race in swimming. In touching the wall, she became the first black woman to win an individual swimming gold medal and the first black woman to medal in swimming.

While the significance of the moment was not lost on us as Olympic watchers or Manuel as a newly-minted champion, NBC seemed to have other important things on its mind. Instead of showcasing Simone Manuel appreciative in her medal ceremony moment, NBC felt it more important to air seven-hour-footage of the Russian National team doing gymnastics badly. When NBC finally did run the medal ceremony, it took place a full hour after Simone Manuel had already done it.

Way to be late to the pages of history, NBC.

Either way, the impact was not lost on Simone Manuel. “It means a lot [to be the first black woman to earn gold in the pool],” Manuel said after the race. “I mean, this medal is not just for me. It’s for a whole bunch of people that came before me and have been an inspiration to me. Maritza [Correia], Cullen [Jones], and it’s for all the people after me, who believe they can’t do it. I just want to be an inspiration to others that you can do it.”

By becoming the first black woman to win an individual swimming gold, Manuel also became the first black woman to stand on the podium while the U.S. National Anthem played after winning swimming gold. It was a history-making moment for an incredible athlete who at only 20-years-old is just getting started.

Relive Simone Manuel’s Olympic-sized moment, as this is one that not many will forget anytime soon.