Nineteen-year-old phenom Athing Mu captured 800m gold Tuesday night in Tokyo, breaking the U.S. record and triumphantly expiring what had been the longest active American title drought in Olympic women’s track events.
Mu led most of the race to close in 1:55.21, breaking teammate Ajee Wilson's all-time U.S. best from 2017.
Fellow American Raevyn Rogers, the 2019 world silver medalist, came from behind to take bronze in a personal-best 1:56.81, while Great Britain's Keely Hodgkinson who has enjoyed a successful year on the world circuit also broke her nation's record, clocking 1:55.88.
The U.S. took home its only other gold in the event 53 years ago when Madeline Manning ran an Olympic-record 2:00.9 at the 1968 Mexico City Games.
Mu made her pro debut at U.S. Olympic Trials in June, breaking Meredith Rainey’s 25-year-old 800m meet record in 1:56.07.
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She broke the American indoor 600m record in 2019 at just 16 years old, and continued her record-breaking ways in the collegiate realm, running NCAA and American junior records in the 400m and 800m. She also broke the world junior record in the indoor 800m in February 2021.
Mu remained, as of her Olympic title win, the fastest American this year in the 400m, an event in which she decided not to run at Trials.
The Trenton, New Jersey, native is the second-youngest of seven siblings and was born in the U.S. one year after her family immigrated from Sudan.