The look on Simone Manuel’s face said it all. After she finished the 100m Thursday night, she leaned her head into her hands and cried when she recognized her historic achievement.
Manuel made Olympic history when she became the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.
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.”
Manuel also spoke about being a black swimmer.
“Just coming into this race tonight, I kind of tried to take the weight of the black community off my shoulders, which is something I carry with me just being in this position,” Manuel said. “But I do hope that it kind of goes away. . . . The title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or I’m not supposed to break records. And that’s not true.”