‘I’m a Champion’: Simone Manuel Offers Dose of Perspective on Olympics

Jul 31, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Simone Manuel (USA) and Abbey Weitzeil (USA) react after the women's 50m freestyle semifinals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Simone Manuel, right, and Abbey Weitzeil; Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

‘I’m a Champion’: Simone Manuel Offers Dose of Perspective on Olympics

Simone Manuel hasn’t had the Olympics she would’ve wanted in Tokyo, after not having the Olympic Trials she would’ve wanted.

But after opening about her mental health in dealing with the pressure and revealing a diagnosis of overtraining syndrome, Manuel shared her thoughts on the Tokyo Games on Instagram Saturday.

“This may not be how I would have written my story, but I’m at peace knowing that God is the ultimate Author of my journey,” Manuel wrote. “He is always in control, and He always has much bigger plans for our lives than we can even imagine.”

Manuel isn’t coming home from Tokyo empty-handed. She was a crucial part in the U.S. salvaging bronze from the 400 free relay, with Manuel one of four new swimmers for the final and drawing the anchor leg. She qualified for Tokyo in only the 50 freestyle and didn’t make it out of semis in that event, tying for 11th in 24.63 seconds.


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But Manuel isn’t just focused on the measurables. She’s surmounted so much adversity to even get to Tokyo. Falling short of the torrid pace she set at the Rio Games – gold in the 100 free, silver in the 50, plus relay gold and silver – is hardly a failure by just about any standards, but only speaks to expectations raised, perhaps, unsustainably high.

Manuel wrote:

“I can confidently say I’m a champion! Not because of the medals I’ve won but because of how I’ve consistently fought for what I believe in, my perseverance, and my fiery passion to always be me! I’m proud of Simone the 2X Olympian/5X Olympic medalist, but most importantly I’m proud to just be ME… Simone Ashley Manuel!”

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