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A Brief Guide to This Summer’s Unexpected U.S. Olympians of Color

Posted: Jul 09, 2012

 For the first time in history the U.S. Olympic Swim Team will have more than one black athlete: swimmers Cullen Jones, Anthony Ervin and Lia Neal will make history in just under three weeks in London. Gabrielle Douglas, who is quickly turning in to this year’s Olympic favorite, is the first black woman in more than a decade to join the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team.

Douglas is 16, Neal is only 17, and both are already making history with the games set to begin in about another two weeks.

Neal’s father Rome says his daughter is “representing a nationality of people who have not been noted for titles in swimming” and says he “thinks she’s going to hold up to it and represent in a major way.”

“I’m very flattered,” Neal told the New York Times about being the second black woman to make the US Olympic swim team. “Swimming is becoming more and more diverse in the sport. The Make a Splash Foundation, they’re trying to get minorities in the water and be water safe, and I think that’s really great. With me being in New York, I guess it’s a predominantly white sport, but you still see a lot of Chinese people and Hispanics, especially my team. We’re so diverse.”

“I’m also half-Chinese so I feel like I’m representing two different races,” Neal told the New York Post.

Read more here.

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