Manuel and Oleksiak tie for 100m free gold
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[August 12, 2016]
By Alan Baldwin
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Canadian
Penny Oleksiak and Simone Manuel of the United States were
inseparable at the finish and even more united in joy after a
stunning 100 meters freestyle dead-heat rewarded both with Olympic
gold on Thursday.
Both women, one 16 and the other 20 and very much part of a new wave
in swimming, touched the wall in 52.70 seconds as the crowd gasped
at the times flashing up on the scoreboard.
Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom, the Olympic 100m butterfly champion who
took the bronze in 52.99, was astonished.
"I think that was a big shock for everyone in the final. Everyone
had to watch the result many times before we understood what
happened ... the biggest surprise so far in this competition,"
It was the second time the women's 100 freestyle had ended in such a
fashion -- the 1984 Los Angeles Games saw a tie between Americans
Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer in 55.92.
That was the first double gold in Olympic swimming and it came after
the timing was reduced from a thousandth of a second to a hundredth
following a controversial dead-heat in the 1972 men's 400 individual
Then, Sweden's Gunnar Larsson was awarded the gold ahead of Tim
McKee of the U.S.
At the 2000 Sydney Games, another 21.98 second dead-heat saw Anthony
Ervin of the United States and team mate Gary Hall Jr each awarded
the 50m freestyle gold.
"It's amazing to tie for gold. I never thought I'd win. She deserves
it as much as me," said Oleksiak, the first athlete born in the 21st
century to claim an Olympic gold in an individual event.
"I'm only 16 so it's pretty insane to win a gold medal in your first
She was only seventh at the turn but powered back on the final 50
meters with a frenzied, head-down final 15 meters to the wall.
Oleksiak has now collected four medals from Rio -- the most by a
Canadian at a summer Games -- winning a 4x100 freestyle bronze on
the opening day of the competition, followed by a 100 butterfly
silver and another bronze in the 4x200 freestyle.
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Simone Manuel and Penelope Oleksiak celebrate winning joint gold
medals and also jointly breaking an Olympic record. REUTERS/Dominic
Manuel's first gold also comes at her first Olympics where she too,
as an African-American swimmer, also carried a particular resonance.
"This medal is not just for me, it's for some of the
African-Americans that have come before me and have been
inspirations and mentors to me," she said.
"I think it means a lot, especially what's going on in the world
today with some of the issues with police brutality," she added.
"I think that this win kind of helps bring hope and change to some
of the issues that are going on."
There was disappointment for Australia's Campbell sisters with world
champion Bronte finishing fourth and world record holder Cate,
leading in world record time at the turn but fading at the finish to
"I've always said that I didn't need a gold medal to have self-worth
and I guess that that's being put to the test at the moment," said
London Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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