History making positivity!
Yesterday, we reported on Gabby Douglas, the inspiring young African American gymnast who clinched the top spot on the US Olympic team. Today, we have more good news to share. 17 year old swimmer, Lia Neal will be joining Gabby to represent the United States in London on the Olympic Swim Team!
Being a native New Yorker and African American meant that 17-year-old Lia Neal had two more chips stacked against her than the other young swimmers competing in Saturday’s 100-meter freestyle finals in Omaha, Neb.
In New York City, frequent trips to a pool are not the norm. And some 70 percent of African-American children do not know how to swim.
Neal, however, managed to take fourth place in the Olympic trial, becoming the second African-American woman to make a U.S. Olympic swim team, the Washington Post reports.
Neal’s win represented not only a personal victory, but a step toward diversifying the team of American swimmers heading to London later this month.
In the men’s competition, swimmer Anthony Ervin, whose father is of African-American and American-Indian descent, came in one-hundredth of a second behind gold medalist Cullen Jones, joining Neal as the third African-American swimmer on the 2012 U.S. team.
According to The New York Times, the U.S. swim team has never had more than one team member of African-American descent and Ervin became the first ever in 2000.
“It’s a pretty big title,” Neal told the Washington Post. She said she knew about her predecessor Maritza Correia, a silver medalist in the 4×100 freestyle relay in 2004, going into Saturday’s race, but never thought she’d be the second black female swimmer to make the team.
Congrats Lia!! Destroying stereotypes and making the Olympic team. Well done, we will be watching and rooting for you in London!