The Olympic Games are a place for new athletic stars to be made. Names you never knew before become famous faces. This will certainly be the case at the Tokyo Olympics, now that they are finally happening.
If we had to hazard a guess, American track and field star Athing Mu is about to become one of those stars. Sure, she's a middle-distance runner, which isn't as exciting as, say, the 100-meter dash. Nevertheless, we're betting on the Texas A&M athlete coming up big for Team USA in Tokyo.
Athing Mu Texas A&M
— NCAA Track & Field (@NCAATrackField) July 14, 2021
Mu is the child of immigrants from Sudan who settled in Trenton, New Jersey, where she was born. She got her start running at the Trenton Track Club and then went to Trenton Central High School, which she graduated from in 2020. Oh, did we mention Mu is a 19-year-old track sensation?
After high school, Mu went to Texas A&M to run for the Aggies. Even as a freshman she was a true star in College Station. She now owns six collegiate records, dominating on both the outdoor track and indoor track. There's one distance where Mu particularly dominated, as she set both the indoor 800-meter record and the outdoor 800-meter record.
At the 2021 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, she dominated once again. During the national championship competition in the home of Nike, Mu won three titles, setting a new college record in the 400 meters and also participating in both the indoor and outdoor 4x400-meter relay teams that won for Texas A&M.
"She might be the greatest freshman athlete in any sport ever at Texas A&M, and maybe the greatest collegiate freshman athlete in the sport of track and field," Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry told 12thman.com.
Given that she owns multiple U-20 world records and American records, perhaps it isn't surprising that Mu went pro after her freshman season in college. She won three titles at the SEC Indoor Championships. What was left for her to do?
"I'm convinced that saying, 'the past year at Texas A&M was the greatest year of my life', is an understatement. I have never had so much fun, joy, and love come from any experience like I did here," she wrote in a sentimental Instagram post.
Athing Mu Olympics & Gold Medal Favorite
— On Her Turf (@OnHerTurf) June 28, 2021
After her college career came to a conclusion, it was time for Mu to set her sight on making the Olympic team. The U.S. Olympic track and field trials took place in Eugene, where Mu had already had a ton of success. For the purposes of the Olympic trials, Mu decided to focus on the women's 800 meters.
That proved to be a wise decision. Mu ran a 1:56.07 in the 800 meters. This didn't just get her on the Olympic team. Mu's time is the second-fastest ever for an American in the event. She is legitimately the favorite to win the gold in Tokyo.
Mu has already done so much in her 19 years of life. Nobody could hold a candle to her in college. Will the same be true at the Olympics? Hopefully, she can add a gold medal to her trophy case.
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