Every day of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Fusion is highlighting a handful of the games’ thousands of athletes. They won’t always be Americans, but they will always be worthy of your cheers.
When she's competing: Friday, August 12 at 12:02 p.m.EST
This Olympics, American black women are making waves in the swimming pool. Last night, Simone Manuel made history by tying a Canadian swimmer during the 100m freestyle and beoming the first African-American woman to ever win gold in an individual swimming event. Today, Naomi Grand'Pierre—who has dual citizenship in both Haiti and the US—will continue Manuel's tradition of barrier-breaking by swimming the 50 m freestyle. For a very long time, black children have been denied access to community pools, and now two days in a row, black American women will compete to win medals in Olympic swimming.
USA, shot put
When she's competing: Friday, August 12 at 8:00 a.m., and 7:20 p.m. EST
To compete in shot put requires brute strength and a body that can harness power. Throwing a small, very heavy ball extremely far isn't a sport where being dainty is a benefit, but we live in a society where women are so often encouraged to be small and gentle and demure. The United States hasn't medaled in this event since the Rome Olympics in 1960. But tonight, Michelle Carter could end that dry spell. “You have to understand everyone’s body was built to do something,” Carter told The New Yorker. “I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.” This morning she finished 3rd in the qualifying throws, and will compete tonight for Olympic gold.
Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.