RIO DE JANEIRO – U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel surprised the swimming world — if not the entire sports world and the Olympic community — when she became the first black female swimmer to take gold in an individual event when she surged home in the final half of the second lap to finish in a time of 52:70.
That score earned her a tie Canadian Penny Oleksiak, 16, the pair sharing a new Olympic record and both receiving a gold medal.
Simone Manuel mentioned the United States’ police brutality controversy after claiming a historic gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle at the Rio Olympics on Thursday night.
Manuel said that her victory was extra special in the context of ongoing race issues in the U.S.
“It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality,” Manuel said. “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.”
Australia’s Cate Campbell was the betting favorite to take home the gold for the Aussies, but Manuel finished with a furious stride as Campbell ran out of gas and finished out of the top three spots.