Team USA’s Simone Manuel has made history by earning a gold medal as the result of her women’s 100-meter freestyle victory on Thursday evening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Upon taking home her first gold medal as an individual swimmer, Manuel also became the first African-American – man or woman – to ever win an individual medal in Olympic swimming. Doing so in style, the 20-year-old managed to garner gold rather than simply place to solidify her place in history.
It is also worth noting that Manuel tied an Olympic-record with a time of 52.70 to match a previous mark set by 16-year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak.
“It’s exciting, it’s really exciting,” said Simone’s mother Sharron Manuel earlier in the week. “The 100 freestyle is very competitive as with all the races but I knew that it would be tough coming in here to see her perform and give all her best is all we could ask.”
Originally from Sugarland, Texas, she currently attends Stanford University while serving as a standout collegiate swimmer as well. Prior to arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the now heralded athlete was a two-time individual NCAA Champion after winning the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races in 2015.
Off to a great start to the Olympics as well, Manuel had already won a silver medal this year. However, coming in a team competition, the United States notably took home a silver medal for the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
“Thanks for all of your support,” Manuel said ahead of winning gold on Thursday. “I love all the well wishes and good luck. It really means a lot to me to have y’all behind me.”