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Old 08-12-2016, 09:37 AM   #151
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Ugh can the commentators stop talking about the "men" and the "girls"?
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:58 AM   #152
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You're going to have to explain this, because it's not as if the US is struggling for medals in swimming specifically or the Olympics in general. In broad terms, I support anybody who is not representing Australia, China, or the US because it's so fucking boring watching those three countries win medals. As soon as I hear any of those three has won a medal I tune out.


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RIO DE JANEIRO — The pursuit of an Olympic medal can be singular and isolating, and the steps it takes to swim two lengths of the pool as fast as possible are filled with details. The athletes assembled here at Olympic Aquatics Stadium are forgiven, then, for some level of self-absorption. They couldn’t have arrived at this spot without it.

But when Simone Manuel touched the wall at the end of the women’s 100-meter freestyle at the Rio Olympics, when she blinked out the chlorine and could see the clock, she knew. This was a gold medal for her, of course, but she shared it. Those in the arena knew what that meant, because the scoreboard showed 52.70 seconds, an Olympic record, for both Manuel and Canadian teenager Penny Oleksiak — a dead heat that meant both took gold.

Manuel, though, shared it with a wider audience — all young African-American girls. None had ever before won an individual Olympic medal in swimming. After preparation that took a lifetime, Manuel thus became a role model in less than a minute.

“Hopefully it will get them inspired,” Manuel said. “The gold medal wasn’t just for me. It was for people who came before me and inspired me to stay in this sport, and for people who believe that they can’t do it. I hope that I’m an inspiration to others to get out there and try swimming. They might be pretty good at it.”

Manuel’s performance was not only significant, it was stunning. 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. Australia’s Cate Campbell was the top seed, the world-record holder — indeed, swimmer of six of the eight fastest times in history — who swam the anchor leg of the Aussies’ gold-medal winning 4x100 relay team earlier in the meet. Cate’s younger sister Bronte had a personal best that made her the third fastest in the event’s history. A gold-silver finish not just for Australia, but for the Campbell family of Brisbane, seemed plausible.

Manuel, a 20-year-old from Sugar Land, Texas, hadn’t come here expecting such a performance. She had, though, arrived with a sense of what her participation meant. She and Lia Neal, a teammate of Manuel’s at Stanford, gave the U.S. women’s team two African-American swimmers for the first time. But Manuel has struggled with embracing her role as, as she said, a “black swimmer,” and shoving it aside.

“Just coming into this race tonight, I kind of tried to take the weight of the black community off my shoulders, which is something I carry with me just being in this position,” Manuel said. “But I do hope that it kind of goes away. . . . The title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or I’m not supposed to break records. And that’s not true.”


Yet Manuel had largely struggled en route to her first Olympics, failing to post a best time at U.S. trials. She finally did that in semifinals of the 100 here, a 53.11, but even that was just the sixth-best time in the world this year.

“I haven’t gotten best times in a while in long course,” she said, differentiating from the distance she swims in college. “It was time.”

Manuel’s start was solid, and she swam well over the first 50 meters, turning in third. But Cate Campbell was there, as expected, in first, a blistering 24.77 seconds. Bronte trailed her by a quarter of a second. Manuel was fighting for a medal, for sure, but a gold seemed unlikely.

But from there, the Campbells inexplicably fell off. Cate’s last 50 was 28.47 seconds, and she finished sixth. Bronte’s final length was 28.00, and she finished fourth. And here came Manuel and Oleksiak.

“That was a big shock for everyone in the final,” said bronze medalist Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden. “. . . I think that was the biggest surprise so far of this competition.”

Both Oleksiak and Manuel reached for the wall. They both touched. A single light — indicating first — lit up on each of their starting blocks.

“I was like, ‘Oh, I’m on the medal stand,’ ” Manuel said. “And then I turned around and saw the ‘1’ by my name, and I was super-surprised.”

Manuel thought about predecessors and contemporaries — particularly Cullen Jones, an African-American gold medalist before her, and Neal, her teammate and friend. But she knows, too, that when Michael Phelps wins a race, he can just break it down. He isn’t asked the kind of broad societal questions she faces.

“It means a lot, especially with what’s going on in the world today, just with some of the issues with police brutality,” Manuel said. “This win kind of helps bring hope and change to some of the issues that are going on in the world. I went out there and swam as fast as I could, and my color just comes with the territory.”

She tried, as so many gold medalists have before her, to hold back tears. She couldn’t. But the tears weren’t just for her pursuit. Phelps has changed swimming by his unprecedented accomplishments. But somehow, in one race, Manuel made his changes seem narrow.


“I’m super-glad with the fact that I can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport,” she said. “But at the same time I would like there to be a day where there are more of us and it’s not, ‘Simone, the black swimmer.’ ”

How about: Simone, the Olympic champion.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...1a1_story.html

my comment about "good for the sport" was a bit US-centric, but it's always great when a POC wins in swimming.

it's traditionally been a country-club sport, which generally means white (although Japan has a long, illustrious swimming history). the more that changes, the more athletes like Simone we have, the more young kids from all walks of life, all communities, get involved in the sport, it's good for everyone.

i swim frequently at a pool where the youth swim team is at least 75% black. there are posters up on the wall of black swimmers who have achieved at the highest levels. i imagine Simone is going to get a big place on that wall, and she is going to inspire lots of kids who look like her to stick with swimming. and what's doubly-great is that, in swimming, female swimmers are as admired and respected and cheered for as their male counterparts. she'll inspire girls and boys.

lastly, learning how to swim is not just for fun or sport, it's a safety issue. minority kids drown at rates much higher than their white counterparts. if more kids are enrolled in learn-to-swim programs, fewer kids will drown every summer.
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Old 08-12-2016, 10:07 AM   #153
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edit: fine, never mind, i get it. she's black and that makes it incredible and historic and amazing. let's not even bother mentioning the canadian white girl who set a shitload of records last night that was up there on the top of the podium too, she's not american therefore who gives a fuck.
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Old 08-12-2016, 10:16 AM   #154
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edit: fine, never mind, i get it. she's black and that makes it incredible and historic and amazing. let's not even bother mentioning the canadian white girl who set a shitload of records last night that was up there on the top of the podium too, she's not american therefore who gives a fuck.


yeah, for swimming, it's a big deal. teenage girls often break out at the Olympics, drop huge amounts of time, and win gold medals -- like, say, Ledecky in 2012. no black woman has won an individual gold medal before in swimming.

on all the swimming websites everyone IS talking about Oleksiak as The Next Big Thing, and i don't think that noting the historic nature of one swim automatically degrades another, as if we can't appreciate two performances at the same time.
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Old 08-12-2016, 01:07 PM   #155
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has there been a single case of zika in the first week of the olympics?
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:34 PM   #156
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Penalty kick drama. USA Sweden 1-1 quarterfinal women's soccer right now


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Old 08-12-2016, 04:36 PM   #157
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wow, hope solo is a dick:

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Old 08-12-2016, 05:03 PM   #158
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Wow, I'm glad she lost. Her little mind game drama before the last penalty was annoying enough. Good riddance, go home


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Old 08-12-2016, 05:15 PM   #159
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Hope didnt lose it, the one that kicked it over the net will be haunted.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:32 PM   #160
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Well the whole team lost really.

Either way, sportsmanship is not her thing clearly.


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Old 08-12-2016, 05:48 PM   #161
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Hope Solo is one of the most obnoxious athletes alive.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:50 PM   #162
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has there been a single case of zika in the first week of the olympics?
As I predicted before the Olympics, there seems to have been more cases of Zika in Florida than in Rio in the last few weeks.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:00 PM   #163
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My nickname for Hope Solo is Jumper Cables


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Old 08-12-2016, 06:31 PM   #164
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i fucking love canadian women

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Old 08-12-2016, 08:11 PM   #165
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Did we even send any male athletes to the Olympics this time?

I'm so pumped that Track&Field has started. I like swimming well enough but it gets tiresome towards the end of the first week. Though Canada did really well this time so that was nice going forward.

I liked Manuel's awesome reaction at the end of her swim. Very genuine and happy.

The 10,000 metre women's race today was the performance of these Olympics so far. To break a 23-year world record by 14 SECONDS is unreal. She actually set an OR for the second 5,000 metres of that race which is just total insanity. Wow.
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