One of the youngest and fastest-rising stars in the world of track and field claimed an Olympic gold medal Monday for the United States in the women's 800-meter run, ending a 53-year drought for the Americans in the event – and doing so barely one month after she turned pro.
Athing Mu, 19, raced out to an early lead and was never challenged, easily winning the 800-meter run at the Tokyo Olympics in 1:55.22 – a new American record. American Raevyn Rogers won bronze.
Mu, whose name is pronounced "uh-thing moe," ran track for one season at Texas A&M, where she set six collegiate records and eight school records before turning pro in June. Born in New Jersey and the second youngest of seven siblings, Mu has credited her Christian faith for her talent and success.
Several hours after her gold medal win, she tweeted, "God definitely took the battle for this one! So, thank you, Lord!"
God definitely took the battle for this one! So, thank you Lord! 🤍— Athing Mu (@athiiing) August 3, 2021
Media members have dubbed Mu a "prodigy" and "teen phenom." At only 19, she could race in several more Olympics before she retires. The next Summer Games, in 2024, will be held in Paris.
"I came in very relaxed, my mind was very chill. I wasn't nervous or anything," she said, according to Yahoo Sports. "I was just ready to go, ready to do what I had to do to get on that medal stand."
Mu told The Battalion newspaper this year that she takes inspiration from Deuteronomy 28:13, which reads, "The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom."
"As a follower of Christ, our main goal is to live in the image of Jesus in order to connect to God and 'get to' God," Mu said. "I believe when God is ready to give you blessings, He gives it to you with all intentions. In this case, 'keeping one at the top, never at the bottom.'"
Rogers, the bronze medalist, also has been outspoken about her faith. She was born in Texas and ran track at the University of Oregon. This is her first Olympics.
Rogers tweeted before the race, "I made this final for a reason. It's all according to His plan, and I know it will be revealed."
I made this final for a reason. It’s all according to His plan, and I know it will be revealed. 🙏🏾❤️— Raevyn Rogers (@TheROYALlife21) July 31, 2021
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Patrick Smith/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.