Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Simone Manuel spoke out about police brutality on Thursday after becoming the first African-American swimmer to win gold in an individual event.
AlterNet reported Friday that Manuel said, “It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality. This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.”
On Thursday at the Rio Olympics, 20-year-old Manuel completed the 100-meter freestyle in 52.70 seconds.
She said that her race is something that she has “struggled with a lot.”
“Coming into the race I tried to take weight of the black community off my shoulders,” said Manuel. “It’s something I carry with me. I want to be an inspiration, but I would like there to be a day when it is not ‘Simone the black swimmer.’”
“The title of black swimmer suggests that I am not supposed to win golds or break records, but that’s not true because I train hard and want to win just like everyone else,” she said.
“This medal is not just for me. It is for some of the African Americans who have come before me,” she concluded. “This medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point.”
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