Simone Manuel Delivers Awesome Olympic Moment

She makes history as a black swimmer
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2016 6:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – She wasn't supposed to win, yet Simone Manuel did just that in history-making fashion Thursday with a stunning late surge in the 100-meter freestyle. The US swimmer earned a gold medal along with Canada's Penny Oleksiak, who shared her Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds in the race. (Video of the finish here.) In doing so, Manuel became the first African-American female swimmer to win gold in an individual swim event, reports AP. A post at Slate calls her reaction the best moment of the Games—she checks her time, lets out a small scream, and covers her mouth. Eventually, she leans her head into her hands and cries.

"You will see this reaction shot for the next 40 years, in commercials and best-of compilations," writes Justin Peters. "I do not think it will ever lose its power." Afterward, Manuel said the victory was about more than her own individual accomplishment. "Coming into the race I tried to take weight of the black community off my shoulders," she said. "It’s something I carry with me. I want to be an inspiration, but I would like there to be a day when it is not 'Simone the black swimmer,'" she said, per USA Today. The race featured another rarity—sisters—but neither world-record holder Cate nor Bronte Campbell of Australia finished with a medal. (Read more Rio Olympics stories.)

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