Within the first minute of winning the 100 meter freestyle and setting a new Olympic record Thursday evening in Rio de Janeiro, U.S. winner Simone Manuel was asked by a TV broadcaster what was going through her mind. An emotional Manuel replied: "All I can say is all glory to God."
With the win, the 20-year-old Manuel became the first African-American woman to medal in an individual swimming event. She tied for the first place in the contest with Penny Oleksiak, 16, from Canada.
Wiping away tears, she said, "This medal is not just for me, it's for a whole bunch of people who have came before me, and been an inspiration to me and it's for all the people after me who believe they can't do it. I want to be an inspiration to them that they can do it."
"It's definitely been a long journey for the past four years. I'm just so blessed," said Manuel.
"It's great to be on such an amazing team.
Manuel hails from the Sugar Land and Houston, Texas. She began swimming at age 5 by watching her two older brothers. She currently attends Stanford University. During her freshman year she broke the American and NCAA Records in the 100-yard freestyle, which is her signature event.
Manuel also took the silver medal in the women's 400-meter freestyle relay last weekend. Competing with American teammates - Abbey Weitzeil, Dana Vollmer and Katie Ledecky - Manuel gave the U.S. a head start with her 53.36-second lead-off leg. Ultimately, the Campbell sisters and the Australians won the match in 3:30.65. Team USA came second with 3:31.89.
Manuel's Olympic medal is the first for a U.S. swimmer in the women's 100 freestyle since Natalie Coughlin took the bronze at the 2008 Games. No American woman had won the 100 free at an Olympic Games since 1984, when Carrie Steinseifer and Nancy Hogshead tied for gold.