Simone Manuel Becomes First African American Woman To Win Swimming Gold

Simone Manuel reportedly told media that as the days grew closer to her event she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. Evidently that “weight” only pushed her closer to history.

The 20-year-old Olympian out of Stanford took gold in Rio Thursday night, becoming the first African-American woman to win an individual gold medal in any Olympic swimming event. She did it by tying a new Olympic record (52.70 seconds) in the women’s 100 meter freestyle.

These amazing pictures tell the story. 

In a dead heat, Manuel ties Canada’s Penny Oleksiak for gold.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Simone Manuel (L) of the United States and Penny Oleksiak (R) of Canada tie for the gold medal in the Women's 100m Freestyle Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Manuel’s reaction to the results are priceless.

Swimming - Olympics: Day 6

Seconds later, as Oleksiak embraces her, she still can’t believe it.

Swimming - Olympics: Day 6

Manuel, still emotional, exits the pool.

Swimming - Olympics: Day 6

The podium.

CORRECTION - Gold medallists USA's Simone Manuel (L) and Canada's Penny Oleksiak (C) pose with bronze medallist Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom on the podium of the Women's 100m Freestyle Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON / The erroneous mention appearing in the metadata of this photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: BRONZE instead of SILVER. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

Gold medallists USA’s Simone Manuel (L) and Canada’s Penny Oleksiak (C) pose with bronze medallist Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom on the podium of the Women’s 100m Freestyle Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016.

Tears of joy during the National Anthem.

Gold medallist USA's Simone Manuel cries while listening to her national anthem on the podium of the Women's 100m Freestyle Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

Congrats, Simone! You’ve made America proud!

Gold medallist USA's Simone Manuel wave her national flag during the medal ceremony of the Women's 100m Freestyle Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016. / AFP / Odd Andersen (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

But even more so, your family!

USA's Simone Manuel (L) is congratulated by a relative during the medal ceremony of the Women's 100m Freestyle Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016. / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

You can view the race here at NBC Sports.


Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports. 

Photos: Getty