Athing Mu
Personal information
Born (2002-06-08) June 8, 2002 (age 22)
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight124 lb (56 kg)
Sport
CountryUnited States
SportTrack and field
Event(s)800 meters, 400 meters
College teamTexas A&M Aggies
ClubNike
Trenton Track Club (youth)
Coached byBobby Kersee (2023–)
Milton Mallard (2021–2022)
Al Jennings (youth)
Bernice Mitchell (youth)
Achievements and titles
Personal bests
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo 800 m
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo 4×400 m relay
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2022 Eugene 800 m
Bronze medal – third place 2023 Budapest 800 m
Pan American U20 Championships
Gold medal – first place 2019 San José 800 m
Youth Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 2018 Buenos Aires 800 m
Updated on July 24, 2022

Athing Mu (/əˈθɪŋ m/[1];born June 8, 2002)[2] is an American middle-distance runner. She is the youngest woman in history to hold Olympic and world titles in an individual track and field event. At the age of 19, Mu won the gold medal in the 800 meters at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, breaking a national record set by Ajeé Wilson in 2017, and a continental under-20 record. She took a second gold as part of the women's 4 × 400 m relay. She was the 800 m 2022 World champion, becoming the first American woman to win the world championship title over the distance.[3]

Mu holds the world under-20 record in the women's indoor 800 m, which she set in early 2021. She also holds the world U20 best in the indoor 600 meters, set in 2019 when she was 16 years of age. Her time is the third fastest ever run indoors.

Early life

Athing Mu was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, and is the second youngest of seven siblings.[4] Her parents immigrated to the United States from South Sudan, and her family is of South Sudanese heritage.[5] She began competing in track at the age of 6. Mu did not join her high school track team, choosing to compete instead for Trenton Track Club. She graduated from Trenton Central High School in 2020.[4]

Career

On February 24, 2019, Mu broke the American women's record at the 600 meter event at the 2019 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships with a time of 1:23.57. She bested the previous American women's record of 1:23.59 held by Alysia Montaño, and nearly broke the women's world record of 1:23.44, held by Olga Kotlyarova.[6]

2021

On February 6, Mu ran indoor 50.52 s in the women's 400 meters, which was 0.3 seconds faster than Sanya Richards' official world under-20 record ratified by World Athletics.[7] However, Mu's time was slower than the 50.36 s set by fellow American Sydney McLaughlin, which was not able to meet the standards for world record ratification.[8] On February 27, she ran 1:58.40 in the 800 meters to set an indoor collegiate and world under-20 record.[9][10] She bested the previous collegiate record by more than two seconds. On April 17 in Waco, Texas, running outdoors, Mu set the 800 meter USA collegiate record with a time of 1:57.73.[11] At the 2021 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon on June 12, 2021, she lowered her collegiate all-time record mark to 49.57 s in winning the 400m, before anchoring the Texas A&M Women's 4 × 400 m relay squad to victory and a new collegiate record of 3:22.34 later in the day.[12][13]

Mu qualified for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the US Olympic trials held in Eugene, Oregon by placing first in the event with a time of 1:56.07, a world-leading time and the second-fastest result in American history.[14] At the Tokyo Games, she won two gold medals for the women's 800 meters and women's 4 × 400 meters relay. In her individual event, Mu led from gun to tape in a dominant showing, finishing clear ahead of Keely Hodgkinson and compatriot Raevyn Rogers. She broke the American women's 800 meter record with a 1m 55.21s performance and ended a 53-year Olympic win drought for the USA – the last American woman who won the event was Madeline Manning at the 1968 Mexico Olympics (first Olympic 800m male or female win since Dave Wottle at the Munich 1972). Mu became also the youngest U.S. woman to win individual Olympic track and field title since Wyomia Tyus earned the 100 m title at the 1964 Tokyo Games.[15]

In her first post-Olympic race at the Prefontaine Classic, she set even better American 800 m record of one minute 55.04 seconds despite running by herself over the final lap, also the all-comers' record, making her the second fastest U20 woman ever after Pamela Jelimo and putting her eighth on the world all-time list.[16][17]

In that record-breaking season Mu competed 36 times (including rounds) and triumphed in 35 races to be voted World Athletics Female Rising Star of the Year.[18]

Mu at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon

2022

At the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon in July, Mu this time barely held off Hodgkinson to take the women's 800 m gold with a world-leading time of 1:56.30. She won by 0.08 s after a tight finish on the home stretch, with Mary Moraa trailing in third. Thus, Mu became the first American woman to win the 800 m world championship title, and the youngest woman in history to own Olympic and world titles in an individual track and field event. She also extended her outdoor win streak to nearly three years as she hadn't lost an outdoor race (in any round, at any distance) since September 2019.[3]

2023

At the 2023 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Mu competed in the 1500m and placed second.[19] As the winner of the previous year's iteration, she automatically qualified for the year's world championships in the 800m. Although whether she would compete was in doubt, at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Mu competed in the 800m and placed third to Mary Moraa and Keely Hodgkinson. She had only run one 800m race all season prior to this. At September's 2023 Prefontaine Classic, she won the Diamond League final in a time of 1:54.97 to set an American record and defeat Moraa and Hodgkinson.[20]

2024

After a nine-month hiatus, Mu returned to competition at the 2024 United States Olympic trials. During the 800m final, she tripped and fell, failing to qualify.[21]

Achievements

All information taken from World Athletics profile.

Personal bests

Event Time Venue Date Notes
400 meters 49.57 Eugene, OR, United States June 12, 2021 AU20R
4 × 400 m relay split 48.32 Tokyo, Japan August 7, 2021 fourth leg[22]
400 meters indoor 50.52 i College Station, TX, United States February 6, 2021
600 meters indoor 1:23.57 i New York, NY, United States February 24, 2019 AU18B WU20B AB
800 meters 1:54.97 Eugene, OR, United States September 17, 2023 NR
800 meters NCAA 1:57.73 Waco, TX, United States April 17, 2021 CR
800 meters indoor 1:58.40 i Fayetteville, AR, United States February 27, 2021 CR WU20R
1500 meters 4:03.44 Eugene, OR, United States July 8, 2023
One mile indoor 4:37.99 i College Station, TX, United States January 15, 2022

International competitions

Representing the  United States
Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
2018 Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires, Argentina 2nd 800 m 2:05.23
2019 Pan American U20 Championships San José, Costa Rica 1st 800 m 2:05.50
Pan American Games Lima, Peru 11th (sf) 800 m 2:07.30
The Match Europe v USA Minsk, Belarus 8th 400 m 54.34
7th 800 m 2:06.68
2021 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 1st 800 m 1:55.21 AU20R NR
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:16.85 WL SB
2022 World Championships Eugene, OR, United States 1st 800 m 1:56.30 WL
2023 World Championships Budapest, Hungary 3rd 800 m 1:56.61 SB

Circuit wins

National championships

Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
Representing Trenton Track Club (2008–2020), Texas A&M (2020–2021), and Nike (2021–Present)
2013 USATF Junior Olympic Championships Greensboro, North Carolina 3rd 800 m 2:19.47 SB
1st 1500 m 4:48.58 SB
2017 NSAF Indoor Nationals New York, New York 7th 400 m 58.30 SB
1st Mile 4:59.48 PB
NSAF Nationals Greensboro, North Carolina 10th 400 m 57.17 SB
2nd 800 m 2:07.70 SB
1st Mile 5:02.55 PB
AAU Junior Olympic Nationals Ypsilanti, Michigan 1st 800 m 2:07.99 SB
1st 1500 m 4:33.04 PB
2018 NSAF Indoor Nationals New York, New York 1st 400 m 54.98 SB
1st 800 m 2:06.59 SB
NSAF Nationals Greensboro, North Carolina 1st 400 m 54.12
1st 800 m 2:04.51 SB
AAU Junior Olympic Nationals Des Moines, Iowa 2nd 200 m 24.07 (-2.7 m/s)
1st 400 m 52.83
1st 800 m 2:07.54
1st 1500 m 4:38.78
2019 USATF Indoor Championships New York, New York 1st 600 m 1:23.57 WL CR AU18B WU20B AB
NSAF Indoor Nationals New York, New York 2nd 800 m 2:05.86 PB
NSAF Nationals Greensboro, North Carolina 2nd 400 m 51.98 PB
USATF U20 Championships Miramar, Florida 1st 800 m 2:05.59
USATF Championships Des Moines, Iowa 5th 800 m 2:01.17 PB
2020 USATF Indoor Championships – HS Albuquerque, New Mexico 4th 800 m 2:14.18 (HS athletes)
2021 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships Fayetteville, Arkansas 2nd 400 m 51.03
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:26.68
NCAA Division I Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 400 m 49.57 CR AU20R
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:22.34 CR
U.S. Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 1st 800 m 1:56.07
2022 USATF Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 800 m 1:57.16
2023 USATF Championships Eugene, Oregon 2nd 1500 m 4:03.44

Sources:[23][24]

Awards

Rising Star (Women):2021[25][26]

References

  1. ^ Azzi, Alex (June 28, 2021). "Athing Mu dominates women's 800m at Olympic Trials". On Her Turf. Archived from the original on July 26, 2021.
  2. ^ "Athing MU – Athlete Profile". World Athletics. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Azzi, Alex (July 24, 2022). "Athing Mu becomes first American woman to win 800m, keeps win streak alive". NBC Sports. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Athing Mu". teamusa.org. Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  5. ^ Athing Mu World’s Fastest Young Female in Track & Field History, 2x Gold Medalist at 20 - The Pivot The Pivot Podcast
  6. ^ Gault, Jonathan (February 24, 2019). "A Star Is Born: 16-Year-Old Athing Mu Breaks American Record, Just Misses WR to Win 600 at 2019 USA Indoors in 1:23.57". LetsRun.com. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  7. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (February 7, 2021). "Mu breaks world U20 indoor 400m record, Iapichino leaps 6.75m". worldathletics.org. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  8. ^ Lindstrom, Sieg (February 13, 2021). "A&M Frosh Athing Mu Cranking Out Record Times". trackandfieldnews.com. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  9. ^ Dutch, Taylor (February 28, 2021). "Athing Mu Smashes the Collegiate Indoor Record in the 800 Meters". runnersworld.com. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  10. ^ Mulkeen, Jon; Ramsak, Bob (February 28, 2021). "Mu breaks world U20 indoor 800m record in Fayetteville". worldathletics.org. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  11. ^ "Athing Mu Breaks 800m Collegiate Record". kbtx.com. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  12. ^ "Results: Women 400 M (Quarterfinals)". Flash Results. May 29, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  13. ^ "Athling Mu at Texas A&M". Track & Field Results Reporting System (TFRRS). Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  14. ^ "Athing of Beauty: Mu Runs #2 Time in U.S. History to Win Women's 800 by Daylight". LetsRun.com. June 28, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "Athing Mu coached by Bobby Kersee, joins Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone". NBC Sports. November 2, 2022. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  16. ^ "Diamond League | Eugene, OR (USA) | 20th – 21st August 2021 – Result lists" (PDF). Diamond League. August 21, 2021. p. 5. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  17. ^ "Athing Mu caps an incredible year with a 1:55.04 American record". LetsRun.com. August 22, 2021. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  18. ^ Bishop, Greg (July 23, 2022). "Driven by Joy, Athing Mu Has Learned to Dominate Track's Most Brutal Race". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  19. ^ Mull, Cory (August 3, 2023). "Athing Mu's Team Has Made No Decision Yet About 800m Future At Worlds". FloTrack.org. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  20. ^ Gault, Jonathan (September 17, 2023). "World Records, American Records, & More: 8 Thoughts on a Wild Day 2 of the 2023 Prefontaine Classic". LetsRun.com. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  21. ^ "Olympic champion Mu falls in US trials & will miss Paris". BBC Sport. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  22. ^ "Athletics - Final Results - Women's 4x400 m relay (Tokyo, 2020)". IOC. Archived from the original on August 7, 2021. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  23. ^ Athing Mu profile – Athletic.net
  24. ^ Athing Mu profile – TFRRS
  25. ^ "World Athlete of the Year Awards: Know all winners - the complete list". Olympics. Retrieved December 12, 2023.
  26. ^ "Rising Stars winners Athing Mu and Erriyon Knighton show future of athletics is in great hands". RunBlogRun. Retrieved December 12, 2021.