Athing Mu, 19, is a middle-distance runner from Trenton, New Jersey. Most teenagers at this age are making mall runs with their friends or navigating a complicated college campus. But Mu raised the bar by making history in track and field at the Tokyo Olympics.
On Tuesday, she claimed gold for the U.S. in the women’s 800m race in her first Olympic appearance. This win marks the first time an American woman has claimed the top spot since the 1968 Mexico City Games.
Mu is more than just an elite athlete. Here’s everything you need to know about the bright, new Olympics champion.
Where is Mu from?
Mu was born in Trenton, New Jersey to South Sudanese parents on June 8, 2002. She is the second-youngest of seven children and the first of her siblings to be born in the United States. Her older brother, Malual, runs track at Penn State University.
Despite being born in the city, according to the Team USA official bio, she wants to own a farm when she gets older.
How do you pronounce her name?
Mu’s Sudanese name has proven to be a challenge for many to pronounce. It’s been mispronounces, and it’s a name that the world is going to have to learn. So here’s the correct pronunciation: uh-THING moe.
Where did Mu go to school?
Mu attended Trenton Central High School in New Jersey. As a 16-year-old junior she broke the American record in the 600 meters, running 1:23.57 at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships.
Following her illustrious high school career, Mu chose to attend college at Texas A&M University. It was at Texas A&M where she became one of the most dominant collegiate runners, breaking numerous records including the indoor and outdoor 800m.
Mu’s track versatility is unmatched
Mu’s is one of the most versatile runners in the country. Not only does she dominate middle-distance races, she also has the fastest 400m time in the United States, and fourth-best in the world.
Mu’s 4×400 split at the NCAA championships was 48.85, which is the fastest in collegiate history. It is also the first sub-49 seconds time.
More medals to come?
Just days after claiming gold in the women’s 800m, Mu went on to compete in the women’s 4x400m relay. She anchored the last leg for Team USA, which was comprised of Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix and Dalilah Muhammad. The United States turned in a time of 3:16.85, which was less than two seconds off the world record.
She will most likely run in the 400m in Paris along with relays as well. After breaking teammate Ajee Wilson’s American record from 2017, the sky is the limit.