Manuel makes history, gold in 100 free

Michael Phelps will race in his final Olympic event on Saturday

Her parents were in the stands behind the medal podium at the Olympic Aquatics Center on Thursday night to see their daughter swim her signature event at the Rio Games.

The US swimmer matched Canadian Penny Oleksiak stroke for stroke, earning the pair a tie and the gold in the women's 100-meter freestyle Thursday night.

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 12 (IANS): The United States have come out as the biggest victor at the Rio Olympics as their athletes took five gold medals and helped them maintain the top spot on the medals table.

Nada Al-Bedwawi was also moved by Manuel's historic swim.

Earlier in the swimming competition of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Manuel became the first African-American women to medal in an event in United States' history. Manuel said she wanted her gold medal to serve as an impetus for "hope and change", accepting she now has a role to play as an inspiration to other African-Americans. Manuel won silver with the U.S. relay team, and Oleksiak claimed silver in the 200m butterfly and two bronzes in the freestyle relays.

Bronte faded to fourth, and Cate dropped all the way to sixth at the finish.

The field consisted not just of the 16-year-old Oleksiak, who entered the event with three medals already to her credit, but with more formidable opponents all around.

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Zhang, already a Grand Slam victor four years ago after crowned at the World Championships, World Cup and Olympic Game in just 15 months, made too many unforced errors and failed to perform his trademark backhand to easily surrender.

Tears rolled down each of Manuel's cheeks as she sang along. It's a long process to get there, she said.

It was the first victory for the USA in the women's 100m freestyle since 1984, when, oddly, Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer also shared gold. Hers as the first individual swimming gold medal won by a black woman.

I once again congratulate Penny and wish the rest of Team Canada all the best as competition continues in Rio until August 21.

She talked of her historic win, noting the struggle it's been to have success in a sport where people of color are rare. But even in 2016, there are very few professional swimmers who look like her.

"It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality", Manuel said, according to USA Today.

Manuel said she had not expected to win gold.

Manuel, though, shared it with a wider audience - all young African-American girls. "I hope there comes a time when there are more of us and it's not 'Simone the black swimmer'".

Neal pumped Manuel up before the nighttime finals by singing and dancing together. But she enjoyed it so much, she immersed herself fully by age 9.

"[On Thursday] Simone won the 100 free, and that shows how much we've come along and it shows other people you don't have to be scared to try something new", said Ruele, the Conference USA Swimmer of the Year. "All my hard work has paid off and I am really happy about it", - Manuel was thrilled with her win.

It wasn't just the other swimmers who put pressure on Manuel to perform.

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