Only 19 Years Old, Athing Mu Wins 800 and Sets American Record in 1:55.21, By Matt Wisner

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The women's 800m lived up to the hype. Come to think of it, almost all of the Olympic races have had big surprises. Why? Because humans were involved!

Athing Mu won the women's 800m by leading from beginning to the end.

Matt Wisner wrote this piece about the Women's 800m.

Only 19 Years Old, Athing Mu Wins 800 and Sets American Record in 1:55.21

By Matt Wisner

8/4/2021

Only 19 years old, Athing Mu won the Olympic 800 meters in 1:55.21, a new American Record. The previous American record was 1:55.61 and was held by Ajeé Wilson who did not advance past the 800 semifinals this year in Tokyo.

Mu went straight to the front. Like she did in both of her preliminary 800 rounds, she led every step of the race. This time, Mu pushed the pace and drug the rest of the field with her. She ran the first 400 meters in 57 seconds. All eight women in the final did.

There was a lot of conversation about whether Mu would focus on the 400 or 800 for her Olympic campaign. She ran 49.57 to win the NCAA Championships in early June. She clearly made the right decision by focusing on the 800.

In thinking about her future, Mu says, "We're gonna put my name on the list of the two people who have accomplished that (the 400-800 double at the Olympics), because I want to do it."

"We're also going to break the 800 World Record eventually," Mu says. "Not even eventually. We're going to break it."

The only other American woman to win Olympic gold in the 800 was Madeline Manning in 1968. Manning issued the first tweet of her life to congratulate Mu: "You brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart with joy. I praise God for the day you were born."

Mu's name has been mispronounced a lot, and since we'll all be hearing it for a long time, we'd better get it right: It's pronounced Uh-thing Mo.

Mu was two or three strides ahead of second-place the entire race. Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain ultimately earned the silver medal. She ran 1:55.88, which is also the British record.

Hodgkinson is also 19 years old and demonstrated her youth as she crossed the line: She screamed "What the fuck!" to somebody in the stands, and it was heard on broadcast television.

Hodgkinson's PB coming into Tokyo was 1:57.51, which she ran in Stockholm earlier this year. It's clear that she was shocked by the result.

Six of the eight women in the field ran personal bests.

With 100 meters remaining in the race, Raevyn Rogers was in seventh place. As she routinely does, Rogers closed hard. She ultimately finished in third place to secure the final podium spot, running 1:56.81. Rogers is now one of six American women to have run under 1:57.

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