Simone Manuel Humanizes Olympians
Pinpointing the actual origin of the Olympic games would require unweaving a mangled braid of legend, folklore, and history during a time when Grecians held the three firmly in one hand. Stories that may include Hercules competing under the watchful eye of his father Zeus. The demigod exhibiting his superhuman strength to an onlooking crowd of Gods and Goddess. While we may understand that this story is great for tucking children in at night, it’s not something our adult minds care to believe. But in many ways with this humble beginning, regardless of how fictitious it may be, it has tattooed a level of exclusivity on our minds. Where instinctively, we do not connect a normal person with going to the Olympics. From Jesse Owens, Gabby Douglas, Usain Bolt to Wilma Rudolph and every great athlete in between, we have romanticized these people equivocating them to the fictitious gods of ancient times, who simply can’t be real. But in the age of social media, much of that is nearing a jolting end. Accessibility has normalized some of our favorite heroes and heroines, olympians now included.
Do you remember what you were doing at the age of 20??? I was tearing up the mean streets of Tallahassee as a sophomore at FAMU, working, looking for free entrance to “juice” parties. And the only reason I wasn’t sliding in DM’s was because they didn’t exist yet. Needless to say I don’t think anyone of us was accomplishing the things Simone Manuel is at 20. With the Olympics coming to an end this past Sunday it’s no secret the impressive athlete left #Rio2016 with 4 medals under her belt. Black girls everywhere love her. Simone Manuel has the undeniable “girl next door” component, that really made so many of us wrap so easily around her perfectly manicured fingers. Have you seen her insta or twitter. Her hashtag #twolitgurlz with her teammate Lia Neal about their journey to get to and through the 2016 Olympic games demystifies much of the allure and demigod qualities associated with Olympians. I followed and watched as this self aware young woman made history while breaking so many misconceptions people have about Olympic medalists.
Like they are always training and don’t have free time:
— Lia M. Neal (@LiaNeal) July 31, 2016
Or that Olympian workouts are grueling and impossible:
— Simone Manuel (@simone_manuel) July 27, 2016
Well… those pull up did seem grueling but not impossible!
Or that they can only eat super healthy foods:
But I mean if after winning 4 olympic medals, she hasn’t earned an @KrispyKreme doughnut, then none us will ever deserve one.
Her updates about being lit in Rio, while making history widened the narrow scope that we usually have of professional athletes.
— Simone Manuel (@simone_manuel) July 23, 2016
Her reactions to her potentially overwhelming success were maybe as spot on as they would be for most of us. Shocked and truly humbled. Her palm muting her gasps for air, eyes wide open, in awe of her own #blackgirlmagic. She candidly expressed a level of emotion that would be experienced by any human in a super human situation.
Essentially, we are all superhumans in our right. What is done with our capabilities is not a mystical fate left to the gods. It remains, whether we disregard it or flaunt it.
At the end of the day Simone Manuel takes selfies with the besties, listens to Beyonce during her workouts, and snaps herself cooking delicious meals. The essence of human nature is what truly draws us to all super heroes and Simone Manuel is no different from the rest us.