Tales from the games

Simone Manuel ties for gold, but makes history by herself

Simone Manuel made her own jaw drop wide open when she saw her gold-medal winning time of 52.70 seconds, an Olympic record, in the women’s 100-meter freestyle on the scoreboard Thursday night.

Manuel tied Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, but her swim brought her an accomplishment she has all to herself: Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual event in Olympic swimming.

Her initial shock and excitement gave way to tears of joy when the significance of her achievement began to sink in.


‘‘I hope that I can be an inspiration to others so this medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point,’’ Manuel said.

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Manuel and Oleksiak upset world record-holder Cate Campbell of Australia to win gold.

The US has had prominent African-American swimmers before, like Cullen Jones, but diversity in the pool is limited. Manuel said she hoped her performance would encourage other minority swimmers, but also hoped it could resonate outside of sports. Manuel referenced ‘‘some of the issues with police brutality,” as something she hoped to help change.

‘‘I think that this win helps bring hope and change to some of the issues that are going on in the world, but I mean, I went out there and swam as fast as I could and my color just comes with the territory,’’ Manuel said.

Manuel seemed comfortable speaking out, but she also wished that her accomplishment wasn’t such a rarity.


‘‘I’m super glad 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 like ‘Simone, the black swimmer,’ because the title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal.’’

Passenger helps Uber driver see his son in Rio

Ellis Hill is a retired bus driver in Philadelphia who makes money as an Uber driver. His son, Darrell Hill, was a track and field star at Penn State who is competing in the shot put in Rio.

Ellis Hill didn’t think he’d have the money to go see his son compete.

‘‘I was content with just staying home and getting a good bag of popcorn and watching him on TV,’’ he said.

Then, during the Democratic National Convention, he picked up Liz Willock of Chicago at the airport. There was plenty of traffic, and they got to talking about the Olympics.


Willock said she knew one of the swimmers competing, and Hill told her about Darrell.

Willock asked if Hill was able to go.

‘‘When he told me he couldn’t go to the Olympics in Rio, I just wondered how I would feel as a parent of athletes,’’ Willock said.

She shocked him by asking if he would go if she helped him out with airfare.

‘‘I said, ‘Whoa, I don’t even know you,’ ’’ Hill said.

‘‘She said, ‘No, no, I believe it was meant for you and I to meet because I just missed my flight.’’’

Willock set up a GoFundMe page and raised enough money to fund Hill’s trip in two days. By the time she closed the Send Darrell’s Dad to Rio page, over 150 people had donated $8,200.

It will be Hill’s first trip abroad. He leaves on Monday, will celebrate his son’s 23d birthday in person on Wednesday, and will watch him compete on Thursday.

Egyptian judoka refuses to respect Israeli competitor

Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby broke a major rule in judo etiquette after his first-round loss to Israel’s fifth-ranked Or Sasson. El Shehaby refused to bow or shake Sasson’s hand after the match.

Judo players bow or shake hands before and after every match as an important sign of respect in the Japanese martial art.

After Sasson defeated El Shehaby in an automatic victory after two throws, El Shehaby lay on his back for a short time before taking his place before Sasson, in front of the referee.

Sasson put out his hand but El Shehaby backed away shaking his head, drawing loud boos from the crowd.

El Shehaby refused to comment afterward.

He had been pressured by Islamist-leaning and nationalistic sects in Egypt to withdraw from the fight over Sasson’s nationality.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Nora Princiotti can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @NoraPrinciotti.