In this episode of “Women To Know: Sports Edition,”sports journalist Lauren Mayo discusses the amazing achievements of Simone Manuel. Manuel is a professional swimmer who specializes in freestyle events and at just 25 years old, she already has some tremendous accomplishments under her belt.

“I, like so many other Black women, was introduced to Simone Manuel this year, but we were all late to the Simone Manuel train,” says Mayo.

Manuel was already making a splash in the headlines during her college years. As a freshman at Stanford, Manuel was on the Cardinal’s swimming team, and in her first year, she broke three school records as well as a National Collegiate Athletic Association record.

Manuel left college early to focus on the Olympics. “And we’re glad she did because she killed it at the Olympics,” raves Mayo. In 2016, Manuel won two gold and two silver Olympic medals. She set not only an Olympic record but also an American record.

“I’ve never seen a Black woman dominating…not even to mention competing…in the Olympic games for swimming,” says Mayo.

Manuel has been using her platform for some admirable activism, too. She partnered with the Splash Foundation which works to raise awareness for the need for aquatics programs in underserved communities. Furthermore, when signing  her sponsorship deal with swimwear brand TYR Sports, Manuel added an inclusion rider to her contract that requires the brand to reach a certain level of diversity inclusion. Manuel’s negotiation was the first of its kind for a professional sports sponsorship program, and we stan on her selflessness and innovative activism. She understands praxis and what paying it forward looks like and has become an excellent example.

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