Australia’s Cate Campbell entered the women’s 100 freestyle final as the favorite to win gold, with her sister Bronte and Team USA’s Simone Manuel among those expected to contend. Campbell led through the first 50 meters, but what transpired over the final 50 is something that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Manuel managed to chase down Campbell down the stretch, but so did 16-year old Canadian Penny Oleksiak. In the end Manuel and Oleksiak finished in a tie for gold with matching times of 52.70 seconds. Taking bronze was Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who has now won three medals in these Olympics.
The achievements of both Manuel and Oleksiak, who established a new Olympic record, are historic. Manuel became the first African-American female to win an individual gold medal in a swimming event in Olympic history. This is also the United States’ first gold medal in the 100 free since 1984, which also ended in a tie (betweeen Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer).
As for Oleksiak, she’s the youngest female Olympic gold medalist in Canada’s history by nearly two years. At 18 years of age, Jane Bell won gold on the women’s 4×100 meter relay (track and field) team during the 1928 Summer Olympics.
Cate Campbell finished in sixth place, two spots behind sister Bronte. And American Abbey Weitzel finished seventh with a time of 53.30 seconds.