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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Athing Mu, the defending gold medalist in the 800-meter race, will not be competing in Paris after a fall during the Olympic trials

Athing Mu, the reigning Olympic champion in the 800-meter race, encountered a pivotal setback during Monday’s trials, effectively halting her aspirations to qualify for the United States team bound for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The unexpected twist for the bronze medalist from the 2023 World Championships underscored the formidable challenge of securing a spot on the elite U.S. track and field Olympic roster. Nia Akins, Allie Wilson, and Juliette Whittaker clinched the top three spots, marking their debut appearances at the Olympic Games.

The incident occurred early in the final race that would determine the participants for Paris, unfolding during the 2024 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. “Regardless of who you are,” remarked Ato Boldon in a pre-Trials discussion with NBC Olympics, “you’re guaranteed drama. It’s the toughest team in the world to make.”

Earlier in the year, Mu had been managing a lingering hamstring issue, prompting her withdrawal from two competitions. Nonetheless, she had been widely anticipated to contend in Paris. “It’s disheartening to witness, especially for someone of Athing’s caliber who could undoubtedly vie for a gold medal,” shared Rai Benjamin, observing from the sidelines on Monday. “You empathize with her because she belongs there, you know? But that’s U.S.A. Track and Field—it’s the most competitive team, and anything can unfold.”

Mu had previously clinched gold medals in the 800 meters and the 4×400-meter relay at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

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