Simone Manuel is pretty much our new hero. This 20-year-old became the first African American woman to medal in an individual Olympic swimming event when she took home the gold in the 100 -meter freestyle.
But it really doesn’t stop there:
Simone is beyond gracious.
For this particular race, she actually tied with Canadian, Penny Oleksiak, 16, at 52.70 seconds. Not only is this an Olympic record, but she made sure to give her co-winner a huge hug in the pool after learning the big news.
After winning the gold medal, she told NBC, “It means a lot, this medal is not just for me. This is for a whole bunch of people who have come before me, and have been an inspiration to me. It’s for all the people after me who can’t – who believe they can’t do it. And I just want to be an inspiration to others, that you can do it.” Wow.
Simone is an advocate for diversity.
Yup, this leading lady also serves as an athlete representative on a diversity and inclusion committee. She was noted for sharing with a USA swimming website back in February that she recognizes how her role as a female swimmer of color is important for future athletes. We love everything she stands for!