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Simone Manuel becomes first black female swimmer to win Olympic gold


Twitter was buzzing as people praised the inspirational pair.

Simone Manuel and 16-year-old Penny Oleksiak have set records in tying for Olympic gold in the women’s 100 metres freestyle in Rio.

In the third dead heat in the pool, Canada’s Oleksiak became the first individual Olympic champion born since the year 2000 – in any sport.

She shared top spot on the podium with Manuel, 20, the first African-American individual Olympic champion from the United States.

The pair finished in an Olympic record of 52.70 seconds.

Black US gymnast Simone Biles, 19, also won her second gold on Thursday night at her first Olympic Games – and is expected to bag more.

Twitter was absolutely buzzing about the news, with the wins hailed as a  great triumph within the black community.

Manuel said: “It means a lot to me, especially what’s going on in the world today and some of the issues with police brutality.

“This win helps bring hope and change to some of the issues that are going on in the world.

“I went in there and swam as fast as I could. My colour just comes with the territory.

“This medal is not just for me, it’s for some of the African-Americans who have been before me and been inspirations.

“I hope I can be an inspiration for others. This medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport.”

Simone Manuel
(Michael Sohn/AP)

Unable to hold back the tears, she added: “Coming into this race tonight I tried to take the weight of the black community off my shoulders, which is something I carry with me.

“I’m super-glad I can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport, but at the same time I’d like there to be a day when there will be more of us and it’s not ‘Simone – the black swimmer’.

“The title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or break records.

“That’s not true. I work just as hard as everybody else and I love the sport.”