SIMONE MANUEL, who made history in Rio when she became the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold in an individual swimming event, added another personal highlight to her year after meeting President Obama at the White House.
The 20-year-old was brought to tears by the fellow “history maker”.
She wrote on Instagram: “Dear Mr. President, Thank you for the best handshake I’ve ever gotten. Thank you for making me cry. Thank you for being a history maker and not only inspiring me but our nation. You will be missed.”
Simone was part of an extraordinary 100m freestyle final, in which she tied for first place with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak.
Their golds were made all the more remarkable by the fact that they beat the world record holder, Cate Campbell of Australia. Campbell finished in fourth place after leading at the halfway point.
After the event, she said: “The gold medal wasn’t just for me. It was for people that came before me and inspired me to stay in the sport,” she said. “For people who believe that they can’t do it. I hope I’m an inspiration to others to get out there and try swimming. You might be pretty good at it.”
President Obama is first African American to hold the office. Nine months after his inauguration, he was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Obama was reelected president in November 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and was sworn in for a second termon January 20, 2013.
He will continue to serve as President of the US until inauguration day on January 20, 2017.