Swimming toward a comeback

Simone Manuel Simone Manuel
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Simone Manuel made history at the 2016 Olympics, becoming the first African American woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming. Her victory in the 100-meter freestyle shattered records and broke barriers, inspiring athletes worldwide.

Challenges and Mental Health Journey

Following her groundbreaking win, Simone Manuel faced the daunting pressures of maintaining her success and navigating the complexities of elite sports. She shouldered additional scrutiny and responsibility as a trailblazer in a predominantly white sport. However, amidst these challenges, Simone also confronted personal battles with her mental health—a common but often overlooked aspect of high-level athletics.

Resilience and Comeback for Tokyo 2020

Despite the highs of 2016, Simone Manuel’s journey took a difficult turn in subsequent years. Battling mental health issues and grappling with the expectations placed upon her, she faced setbacks that tested her resolve. Nevertheless, Simone’s decision to continue competing and pursue her third Olympics demonstrates her unwavering resilience and dedication to the sport she loves.

Advocacy and Inspiration

Simone Manuel’s story extends beyond the pool. It serves as a powerful example of breaking barriers, challenging norms, and advocating for mental health awareness in sports. Her journey resonates deeply, especially with young black women who find inspiration in her achievements and perseverance.

Legacy and Beyond

As Simone Manuel prepares for her third Olympic appearance, she embodies the spirit of a champion swimmer and stands as a beacon of courage and resilience. Her legacy is not solely defined by medals, but by her commitment to authenticity and advocacy for mental health in athletics.

Simone Manuel’s journey—from making history in 2016 to confronting personal challenges and advocating for mental health—illustrates the multifaceted nature of greatness. As she prepares for Paris 2024, Simone inspires athletes worldwide, showing that true strength lies in overcoming obstacles and embracing one’s authentic self.

Join the Winning Her Way Community!

By pressing the Subscribe button, you confirm that you have read and are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use