Simone Manuel tied with Canadian Penny Oleksiak to win the Gold Medal in the Women's 100 Meter Freestyle competition. SB Nation:
By doing so, she became the first black woman to win an individual swimming gold medal and the first African-American woman to medal in swimming.
Just moments after stepping out of the pool, the significance of the moment was not lost on Manuel.
"It means a lot [to be the first black woman to earn gold in the pool]," Manuel said after the race. "I mean, this medal is not just for me. It's for a whole bunch of people that came before me and have been an inspiration to me. Maritza [Correia], Cullen [Jones], and it's for all the people after me, who believe they can't do it. And I just want to be inspiration to others that you can do it."
I dare you not to choke up with pride and patriotism watching this 20 year old American's reaction to the flag, the anthem, and her win.
Tears of Victory for @simone_manuel.https://t.co/BWGaUNiTHM https://t.co/6ISMPGyu0U
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 12, 2016
So much of NBC's "live" coverage of Olympic Events has been disappointing; instead of showing this amazing patriotic moment, they decided to show seven-hour old Russian gymnastics (not Gold Medal winning, not this year) and showed the Manuel ceremony after an hour.
And don't get me started about the San Jose Mercury News, who took down this headline after many people pointed out, duh, the white guy isn't the only medalist here.
She's an Olympic gold medalist. Her name is Simone Manuel. She isn't just some regular person, @mercnews. pic.twitter.com/QdSvdXM9ML
— Josh Shahryar (@JShahryar) August 12, 2016
And finally, it's well worth your time to go visit the twitter stream of @profloumoore, a historian of black sports at Grand Valley State University (Michigan). He has many examples of the racist history of America when it comes to swimming pools:
this is for all the blacks kids who got kicked out of pools and for all the pools drained b/c black kids touched the water
— profloumoore (@loumoore12) August 12, 2016
I won't post Professor Moore's examples of shameful racism against Black swimmers here, first because you should follow him, and second because here and now, we must celebrate Simone Manuel's amazing accomplishment and patriotism. But we also must never, never, forget.
UPDATE: (h/t Capper) Simone Manuel also wasn't shy about bringing up race in her post-medal interviews. USA Today:
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.”