“I’m a Champion Not Because of the Medals”- Simone Manuel Releases a Statement After Tokyo Olympics 2020 Defeat

Published 07/31/2021, 12:14 PM EDT
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 11: Simone Manuel of the United States celebrates winning gold in the Women’s 100m Freestyle Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

When talking about swimming prodigies, one name that comes to everyone’s mind is Simone Manuel. After her famous gold medal victory in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Manuel rose through the ranks to become one of the best swimmers in the world.


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However, Tokyo Olympics 2020 has not been kind to her. After failing to qualify for the 100-meter freestyle in the US trials, the 50-meter event has not gone well either. She failed to qualify in the race after finishing 11th in the heats.

The 5-time Olympic medallist will leave Japan without an individual medal around her neck. Despite failing to perform well, Manuel looks keen to focus on the future.


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Jun 19, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Simone Manuel prepares to swim in Women’s 50m Freestyle during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Swimming competition at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Simone Manuel reflects her performance in Tokyo Olympics 2020

The US swimmer was in the news for missing out on qualification for the 100m freestyle during the US trials. Significantly, she stated how she suffered from over-training syndrome before the qualifications.

However, the 50-meter freestyle qualifications saw her going through to Tokyo but failed to make it count during the prelims held in Japan. But Manuel looks to be in a positive mood despite coming up short.

“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!” said Manuel.

The swimmer wrote a Twitter post stating the experience she had in this year’s Olympic games. Likewise, she has had a rough time in recent months because of over-training syndrome, depression, insomnia, lack of appetite, and a lot of other personal issues.

With the expectations being put by nations, athletes are now succumbing to different mental breakdowns and withdrawing from events. Notably, famous gymnast, Simone Biles, withdrew from gymnastics events after suffering from mental health issues.

Manuel, however, remained positive and thanked God for whatever has happened in her career.


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Manuel mounts for a comeback

The 50-meter freestyle event saw most of the favorites like Sarah Sjostrom, Emma McKeon, and Cate Campbell, all qualifying for tomorrow’s finals.

But the absence of Manuel becomes a blow and would be something she looks forward to improving in Paris 2024. She finished with a time of 24.63 seconds. Fellow compatriot, Abbey Weitzeil qualified for the finals and will look to win the gold medal.

Despite her failure to qualify, Manuel won’t go without a medal as she claimed the bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.


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The superstar swimmer aims to get back to her best shape for the future and made a self-introspection of her career to date. The Rio 2016 100-meter freestyle champion is a generational talent.

The talented swimmer will now hope to get back to her form and challenge for the next games. Manuel is going to be at her peak in Paris as the Olympic gold medallist will come back with a bang while competing for medals for her country.

Although Tokyo Olympics proved to be a disappointing event for her, the young talent will get back to winning ways.


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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.