U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist
Simone Manuel is a US Olympic Swimmer who became the first African American to win an individual swimming Olympic gold medal – which she won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Born August 2, 1996, Manuel grew up in Texas and began swimming at the age of 4, when her mother allowed her to take lessons – and by the second day she swam clear across the 15-meter training pool proving she was meant to be a swimmer.
A big reason for her athletic success, both of Manuel’s parents Marc and Sharron are former student athletes, and her brothers Chris and Ryan are also College-level athletes in basketball, providing her with the proper background to become such a competitive swimmer.
However, her future would hit a speed bump as a near 10-year old Simone wanted to quit swimming in favor of dance classes. However, her mother convinced her to stick with both activities, and at the age of 11, Manuel joined Houston’s First Colony Swim Team. Just like that a legend was born.
Achieving record-setting performances as early as age 12, the pinnacle of Manuel’s young career came in 2013 when she set a record for her age group in the 100-meter freestyle at the World Championships. Following which, she went on to set several school records at Stanford University – before reaching the Olympic level.
In 2016, at her first Olympic games in Rio, Manuel won the gold medal in the 100 meter freestyle becoming the first African American to win an individual swimming Olympic gold medal.
After she won her championship race, Manuel said to NBC, “All I can say is all glory to God. It’s definitely been a long journey these past four years. I’m just blessed to have a gold medal. I’m just so blessed.
Moving forward, following her great success in Rio, Manuel continues to use her social media platforms to share her strong Christian faith.
Alex Brasky is the creator of local sports website, Alex Brasky is the creator of local sports website, www.bataviasbest.org.