It would be easy to assume that the United States’ Athing Mu, who is still only 19 years old despite having won two Olympic gold medals, would be content to rest on her laurels.
Athlete and Olympic 800m champion Usain Bolt has ambitious aspirations for the future as she continues to realise her outlandish potential.
A. Mu Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
It took 53 years for the United States to win another 800 metre Olympic gold medal, from Mexico City in 1968 to Tokyo in 2020 (which took place in 2021).
Madeline Manning won the first gold medal with an Olympic record time of 2:00.9 in the sweltering Mexico City weather.
The second is Athing Mu, who set a national record with her gold medal-winning time of 1:51.21 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Mu has since broken her own record at the post-Olympics Prefontaine Classic.
Everyone was taken aback by Manning’s unexpected victory. It was the first time a black woman had won the 800m in the Olympics, and it paved the way for other persons of colour to pursue their dreams of becoming elite distance runners.
However, Mu’s victory was expected by those in the know. The 800m gold she won felt like a natural next step in the beginning of a career that promised to reach stratospheric levels because of how quickly and astoundingly she has improved.
Having faith in one’s ability to Realise one’s Fantasies
It seems that self-assurance has become a catchphrase for Mu.
In an exclusive interview with Olympics.com after Tokyo 2020, she claimed, “Anything I put my mind to, I can do.” It’s only me who can stop me from doing anything.
Even though she already has an Olympic gold medal in the 800m and a 4x400m relay to her name from Tokyo 2020, she has even greater aspirations. Mu, a rare talent in the 400 and 800 metres, is aiming for the sport’s two most prestigious records.
One is the fact that Cuban superstar Alberto Juantorena is the only person in Olympic history to win both the 400 and 800 metre events.
The alternative is simply unprecedented in human history.
“We’re going to put my name on the list of the two people that have accomplished that, because I want to do it,” Mu told TeamUSA.org.
As time goes by, I plan to also shatter the 800 metre world record. We won’t wait forever; we’ll crack it.
The young athlete seems mature beyond her years when she speaks, but self-assurance is essential for someone with her lofty goals.
Mu wore a crimson barrette with the word “confidence” on it to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic final. That was her way of letting the world know how she was feeling.
She credited her self-assurance as the main factor in her Olympic success, saying as much to Olympics.com. I wouldn’t have competed as fiercely as I did if I hadn’t been so sure of myself before the event. If I could just get my hands on this medal, I would proudly wear it around my neck…
“I am that person. I am described by that one term.
Roots of success
It’s difficult to think of Athing Mu without drawing parallels. That applies equally to sports legends like USA legend Allyson Felix and sports icons like Peyton Manning as it does to the greats of the game.
Furthermore, Mu can be compared to people whose backgrounds are comparable to his own but whose lives have taken very different turns.
Mu was born to parents who emigrated to the United States from South Sudan and reared a brood of seven kids there. She will always be grateful to her parents, who had to take on manual labour to keep the family afloat.
‘I’m doing everything I can to be the Olympian, to be an Olympic champion because I know that I’m doing it for more than just myself,’ she said.
My parents sacrificed a lot to get me here, you know. Therefore, I will do whatever it takes to support my loved ones.
Many athletes from South Sudan competed in Tokyo as part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. Among them was Rose Lokonyen Nathike, who competed in the 800 metres and placed eighth in her heat.
And Mu has nothing but praise for the group, who were an integral part of the Games and brought attention to the issue of refugees worldwide.
In spite of their hardships, “I have a whole lot of respect for them for just coming out here and competing the way that they do,” she said. As for me, “it’s absolutely incredible,” is how I’d put it.
Time for the Future has Arrived.
The adventure of Mu has just begun. But if you have hopes and ambitions, you need to start planning for the future right now.
This year, on July 15th through the 24th, the World Athletics Championships will be held in Oregon, giving her a chance to add a world title to her collection of Olympic medals.
She ran the 800 metres in 01:55.04 on the Hayward Field track in August 2021, just two weeks after the Olympic Games.
The previous world record was set in 1983 at 1 minute, 53 seconds, and she is rapidly closing in on that time. As far as we know, it hasn’t been surpassed by anyone else, making it the longest-standing individual world record in sports.
Perhaps one of her aspirations will be realised before the others. Through sheer force of will and self-assurance, she has rocketed to the top tier of society and now stands on the brink of realising all her wildest ambitions.
It’s simpler to just let her words speak for themselves rather than make assumptions.
“If I go into something with the idea that I can accomplish something, whether that’s on the track or off the track, then I will accomplish that thing.”