Simone Manuel Makes Olympic Swimming History in Rio: Celebrities React

Simone Manuel made history last night.

The 20-year-old became the first African-American woman to win an individual event in Olympic swimming after picking up the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games on Thursday (Aug. 11, 2016). She tied with Canadian Penny Oleksiak, 16, while competing in the 100m freestyle competition.

Following her historic win, Manuel could not hold back her tears as she sang the national anthem — and for very good reason. “This medal, it’s not just for me. It’s for a whole bunch of people who came before me, have been an inspiration to me,” she told NBC in an interview. “And it’s for all the people after me who believe they can do it. I just want to be an inspiration to others that they can do it.”

Manuel’s gold also came on the same day that Simone Biles won gold for the US in the women’s all-around gymnastics. “We’re basically the same person,” she said, revealing that they are very close, “and we’re both going back to Houston with gold medals.”

Following the Olympic swimmer’s history-making moment, celebrities like Leslie Jones, Uzo Aduba, and even Lil Wayne, took to Twitter to congratulate her.

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