Tag: Rio De Janeiro Olympics

Simone Manuel Makes History as 1st African-American Female Swimmer to Win Olympic Gold in Individual Event

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U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel ties for gold in women’s individual 100M freestyle race at 2016 Rio Olympic Games (photo via dailymail.co.uk)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

First and foremost, the headline above is the main story.  Team U.S.A. member Simone Manuel made Olympic and U.S. history by becoming the first African-American female to win gold in an individual swimming event when she tied Canadian swimmer Penny Olesiak for first place in the 100-meter freestyle at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics Thursday night, with a time of 52.70.  We congratulate her heartily, and are as proud as we can be of and for her.

According to theroot.com, Manuel used her time and her platform afterwards to speak on the ongoing racial issues the United States grapples with as she addressed the importance of her historic win.

United States' Simone Manuel shows off her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the women's 100-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
United States’ Simone Manuel shows off her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the women’s 100-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

“It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality,” the young swimmer said. “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.”

Manuel acknowledged that her race does carry a bit of weight, especially as a swimmer, given the stereotype that black people cannot or should not be able to swim well.

“It is something I’ve definitely struggled with a lot,” she said. “Coming into the race, I tried to take [the] weight of the black community off my shoulders. 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,” Manuel added.

The ensuing story surrounding this momentous event and its coverage has also been historic in its own right. Thanks to social media, the calling out of the faulty, biased reporting by the mainstream media on this unprecedented triumph has been equally thrilling to behold.  Not only was NBC’s lack of coverage been taken to task by colorlines.com and scores of twitter fans, so has the San Jose Mercury News‘ initial insulting headline of “Michael Phelps Shares Historic Night with African-American” been dragged via a great Huffington Post article.

Personally, I am very satisfied to see a growing trend on speaking out against systemic racism in mainstream reporting and for apologies having to be publicly made and headlines re-written.  Please click through the links above and enjoy the tweets and comments in their entirety.

In the meantime, I’m setting my DVR for Manuel’s next race tonight in the 50-meter freestyle to see if NBC, etc. can do better by this undeniable champion for the ages.

Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team Start Strong at 2016 Rio Olympics

U.S gymnast and World Champion Simone Biles (photo via newsone.com)
Olympic All-Around Defending Champion Gabby Douglas (photo via newsone.com)

article by Charise Frazier via newsone.com

The USA women’s gymnastics team obviously did not come to play in Rio – they literally vaulted ahead of the competition during the qualifying round on Sunday.

Veteran Aly Raisman and it-girl Simone Biles will advance to the all-around final, where they will battle with China, who scored second in the qualifiers. In total, Team USA scored an unprecedented 10 points higher than China on Sunday.  Team USA holds the chance to win 10 gold medals in every finals event, including vault, beams, bar, and floor exercises.

In the vault competition, Biles was utter perfection as she nailed two of the hardest vaults in the competition, scoring 16.050, the highest of any gymnast during the meet. Raisman came in second with a solid 15.766.

On the bars, Madison Kocian led the team with a high score of 15.866, while Douglas came in third behind Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, with 15.766.

But it was the beam exercise that most were looking forward to. Douglas and Biles both fell during last month’s Olympic trials. On Sunday, they didn’t disappoint, landing explosive performances. Biles came in first for Team USA with 15.633, and Laurie Hernandez came in second, scoring 15.366 and beating out Brazilian gymnast and crowd favorite, Flavia Saraiva. Douglas came in third for USA with 14.833.

To read full article, go to : Watch Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas At 2016 Rio Olympics | News One

FEATURE: Atop the Gymnastics World, National Champion Simone Biles Can’t Suppress Her Grin

Simone Biles smiled nearly the whole way through her floor exercise on both days of the United States women’s gymnastics championships in St. Louis. (Credit: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

article by Juliet Macur via nytimes.com

ST. LOUIS — At the end of the United States women’s gymnastics championships here on Sunday night, so many gold medals hung around Simone Biles’s neck that when she walked, they clinked so loudly it made her giggle. A few times, she grabbed her medals to silence them and laughed yet again.

“I always have so much fun,” Biles said later, after she had won her fourth straight national title in the all-around event and gold medals in three of the four individual events. The last time a woman had won a fourth consecutive national title in the all-around was 42 years ago.

“People think you have to be serious to do a good job,” she said. “But I think if you’re having fun, you can do better. You can look back someday and say, wow, I had a good time instead of being so stressed out.”

That’s easier said than done in elite gymnastics, a sport that can be a dangerous endeavor. One slip could break bones or tear ligaments, or possibly something worse. But this happy-go-lucky attitude in a grueling, often solemn sport works for Biles, the three-time defending world champion in the all-around. And it makes perfect sense that it works.

After all, it’s fun to compete when you win and win and when the word around the sport is that you’re the best gymnast ever. Mary Lou Retton, the Olympic gold medalist in the all-around in 1984, has called Biles the top gymnast in history. Nastia Liukin, the Olympic gold medalist in 2008, has said that Biles is a lock for the gold medal at the Rio Games in August and that the real competition is for second place.

During the two-day national championships here, which were a warm-up for next month’s Olympic trials in San Jose, Calif., Martha Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator, watched Biles’s routines closely — often with eyes opened extra wide.

After several of Biles’s big performances — and nearly all of them were big performances — Karolyi said, “Wow!” It was a substantial reaction from a woman who is the opposite of effusive: She gave two slow claps to Gabrielle Douglas’s floor exercise on Sunday, and Douglas is the reigning Olympic champion in the all-around.

Continue reading “FEATURE: Atop the Gymnastics World, National Champion Simone Biles Can’t Suppress Her Grin”

Ibtihaj Muhammad Will Make History as 1st U.S. Olympian to Compete in a Hijab

Screenshot of Ibtihaj Muhammad, taken from Twitter on February 3, 2016. (photo via Colorlines.comP

article by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

When she competes at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Ibtihaj Muhammad will make history as the first member of Team USA to compete while wearing a hijab.

Muhammad, who is Black, secured her spot by winning a bronze medal during the fencing World Cup in Athens on January 30. She is now the second-highest-ranking fencer on Team USA’s women’s squad.

In an interview on TeamUSA.org, Muhammad said that she pursued fencing at the professional level in part to help break barriers in the sport:

“After I graduated from college, I saw there was a lack of minorities in the sport,” Muhammad told TeamUSA.org. “I recognized that I had a skill set, so I started to pursue fencing full time. I felt that it was something the squad needed. There were barriers that needed to be broken in women’s saber.”

Muhammad, who failed to quality for the 2012 Olympics due to a torn ligament, will compete in the Rio Olympics in both the individual and team events along with U.S. Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis.

“I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender,” said Muhammad, who was quoted by TeamUsa.org. “I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”

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