How Two Girls Named Simone Changed The 2016 Olympics

The 2016 Olympics in Rio has definitely been an emotional roller coaster. Simone Manuel and Simone Biles have brought us pride and tears of joy to our eyes.

The 2016 Olympics in Rio has definitely been an emotional roller coaster. Athletes from all over the word came together to test their strength, skill, and overall endurance. However, out of all of the athletes that competed in this great event there were two individuals that brought us pride and tears of joy to our eyes. Those two individuals were Simone Manuel and Simone Biles. It’s already a sheer coincidence that these two girls share the same first name but what is more fascinating is that both Biles and Manuel became the major highlight of this year’s Olympics in Rio.

Who Is Simone Manuel?


Simone Manuel was born in Houston,Texas but grew up in Sugar Land, Texas. At an early age, Simone swam at her local club, there her love for swimming was born. In 2014 she attended Stanford University and swam on the Stanford Cardinal women’s swim team. According to Wikipedia, “In 2015 Manuel became one of the first three African Americans to place in the top three spots at the 100-yard freestyle in any Women’s Division I NCAA Swimming Championship”. With that being said it is no surprise that she gave an unforgettable performance in the Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay and in the 100m freestyle. However, the name Simone was already on the tips of everyone’s tongue even before Manuel swam her first lap.

Who is Simone Biles?


Simone Biles is known for her jaw dropping artistic gymnastic performances. There has even been gymnastic routines dubbed after Biles, indicating her perfection for style and tenacity. According to biography.com, “Biles is the first woman to win three consecutive world all-around titles. She is also the most decorated American female gymnast in World Championships history, with a total of fourteen medals, ten of them gold”.

How did they change the 2016 Olympics in Rio?

Manuel won a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games in the Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay and tied for a gold medal in the 100m freestyle. She became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in swimming for the United States. Biles is the 2016 Olympic individual all-around champion. Both of these ladies are the definition of Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”. They have lit a fire of inspiration for many young African American girls. As an African American woman I am proud to have witnessed the sprinkle of Black Girl Magic that fell upon the 2016 Rio Olympics.


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