U.S. Olympic swimmer and bronze medalist Simone Manuel took aim at the media in a series of tweets this week, urging reporters to “stop interviewing athletes” after a “disappointing performance.”
Manuel, 25, has taken issue with the post-race interviews at the Games, saying in a tweet on Tuesday that those media appearances in general don’t give athletes the time to “process anything.”
“Please stop interviewing athletes right after a disappointing performance before they have any time to process anything. Trust me. They gave it their all. Nothing else people need to know at that time,” she posted.
The five-time Olympic medalist elaborated further on her comments in a series of tweets on Friday.
“The amount of people who say we’re just sore losers or that we are ‘obligated’ to do the interviews is problematic. Lack of empathy for athletes is problematic. As someone who studied communication in college with multiple journalism classes, I understand the role of media.”
Manuel said the media should “look at us as humans with emotions.”
“It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting to coherently answer questions while trying to process the fact that people already saw you fall short of the goals you worked so hard for on the world’s biggest stage,” she continued.
Manuel claimed her stance was not an attack on the media but rather a possible solution.
“Just give us a moment. The story can wait. Empathy and kindness is the most important thing we need in that moment.”
Manuel’s appearance in Tokyo came to a disappointing end after she failed to medal in the same events she dominated in at the Rio Games. In 2016, she became the first Black woman to win an individual swimming gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle, an event she failed to qualify for this year. She also won silver in the women’s 50-meter freestyle but failed to reach the finals in Tokyo.
She did take home the bronze medal in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
“It’s hard to work so hard for something and not see the results pay off,” she said after the 50-meter race.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.