Sport: Driven by Joy, Athing Mu Won’t Stop Running

People Magazine Investigates Examines How Authorities Cracked 1991 Cold Case Murder of Pa. Mom

  People Magazine Investigates Examines How Authorities Cracked 1991 Cold Case Murder of Pa. Mom The mother of two was found beaten and strangled in her Pennsylvania home, which was on fire when police arrivedThe morning of April 19, 1991, was a typical one for the Hibbs family from the quiet town of Croydon, Pa.

The 20-year-old middle-distance phenom already has the world’s best time this year. Is a seemingly unbreakable world record next?

View the original article to see embedded media.

EUGENE, Ore. — At the end of every track race, the faces, bodies and souls of weary, drained participants tell the story of a sport where pain is both endured and expected. Some grimace, eyebrows lowered, noses wrinkled, eyes closed, mouths open. Some slump shoulders; or bend over, hands on knees, gasping for air; or collapse in exhaustion.

Then there is Athing Mu, the 20-year-old middle-distance runner from New Jersey who specializes in what’s arguably the sport’s most brutal race. There’s not even a lot of argument. The task: sprint almost as hard as she can, for two full laps around the track, saving enough energy to separate over the final 100 meters but not so much that she’s not in position to separate at all.

Gov. Larry Hogan said if Trump announces a 2024 run before the midterms GOP governors worry it will 'cost us seats'

  Gov. Larry Hogan said if Trump announces a 2024 run before the midterms GOP governors worry it will 'cost us seats' Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said "it's going to cost us seats" if Trump announces a run, adding: "After all, he lost to Joe Biden, which is hard to do.""We had discussions about that at the Republican Governors Association last week," Hogan said during an interview with ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

That’s precisely where Mu’s other specialty comes in. She runs while exuding an emotion that’s rarely displayed in track, at least not during a race. It’s a simple concept—and yet, an elusive one. It’s what separates her from other elite competitors—and what will power her drive to break a controversial world record that has stood for 39 years.

It’s joy.

Athing Mu, more than anything or anyone, is joyous.

In winning the 800-meter gold medal last summer in Tokyo, Mu made an impression on the newer members of her growing audience through far more than her speed. She never stopped smiling. She danced. She hugged. She stood before television cameras and proclaimed herself “very fun” and “quite jolly.” And, in part because she is fun and is jolly, she is also very/quite fast. Somehow, she even dropped the grin to admit her loftiest goal, the mark she “definitely” planned to break.

George Conway says reports that Trump will install loyalists in his administration if he wins in 2024 is a cautionary tale: 'It's going to be more corrupt and lawless'

  George Conway says reports that Trump will install loyalists in his administration if he wins in 2024 is a cautionary tale: 'It's going to be more corrupt and lawless' "They want to throw out thousands of civil servants so they could put people who are ultra-MAGA in," Conway said.His political team is even getting ready for a spring reelection announcement, according to the Washington Post.

Mu will look to hold her world-leading time in Sunday’s 800-meter final. AP Photo/Ashley Landi © Provided by Sports Illustrated Mu will look to hold her world-leading time in Sunday’s 800-meter final. AP Photo/Ashley Landi

As Al Joyner, an Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump and longtime track coach, watched Mu glide and dominate, she looked effortless, undeterred, even exultant—like the 800 presented no greater challenge than a stroll to the mailbox. “She just makes it look so easy,” Joyner says. “You have to appreciate these people who come along and are generational talents, and not try to explain it, or understand it, or fit it into any paradigm you had about the sport.”

“Just enjoy watching,” Joyner says. “Because that’s a difficult race to run.”

Just ask Chanelle Price, or any other 800-meter specialist who’s either forced into that distance or off-kilter enough to try. Back in 2008, she ran the second-fastest 800 ever for a female American high schooler. By then, she was 18, headed to Tennessee on a track scholarship and dreaming of Olympic glory. By then, she had already “lost that joy,” she says. She sighs, then adds, “I put way too much pressure on myself.”

World Athletics Championships: 2 world records fall, U.S. wins 3 more golds on final night

  World Athletics Championships: 2 world records fall, U.S. wins 3 more golds on final night World Athletics Championships: 2 world records fall, U.S. wins 3 more golds on final nightOn Sunday during the last session of the 2022 World Athletics Championships, Amusan, a Nigerian who was an NCAA champion at Texas-El Paso, had the evening of her life.

Price hears Mu cackle at this ha-ha-ha pressure, insisting she “doesn’t let it” get to her, that running, at the highest level in the world, is meant to be an exercise in fun, a utilization of gifts. (Writer aside: really? Running? Are we talking about the same sport?) Price wishes she could have heard that when she was 20 and her own career was ascending. Who knows how fast she could have run.

The 800 does that, though, to those bold enough to accept its inherent cruelty. As Price describes the strategy involved, it sounds like she’s laying out a complex math equation, one that runners must solve while trucking forward at near-maximum speed and factoring in things like weather, their competitors, spacing, shoes, the track underfoot, how they feel that day, even what lane they started in.

The ideal 800 star would excel at the 400 meters, meaning they possess top-level speed at a distance that’s longer than the short sprints. That same star would also at least be above average (relative to world-class competitors) in the 1,500-meter run. That star would train for both events, emphasizing speed one day and endurance (with speed) the next. This training duality will tax their legs and wage psychological torment on their minds. But it will also give them data to input into those on-track equations. They’ll learn to pace themselves—at a pace that would make mere mortals break down in tears—so they don’t fly out too fast early, only to be passed near the finish line.

Ron DeSantis can count on the vote of one powerful Florida Man: Donald Trump

  Ron DeSantis can count on the vote of one powerful Florida Man: Donald Trump Trump says of DeSantis, "I get along with Ron very well." But the former president hasn't formally endorsed the governor's 2022 reelection bid yet.Former President Donald Trump plans to vote for DeSantis for reelection in November, he told the Wall Street Journal in a Monday interview.

Such is the 800, a torture chamber masquerading as a track event that’s part sprint, part distance, part science, part strategy and, more than anything, all guts. Just ask Meredith Rainey-Valmon, a two-time Olympian and former U.S. record holder who specialized in track’s most vicious race—and not by choice.

She started out as a 400-meter runner, only to eventually confront a harsh reality. “I wasn’t fast enough,” she says. In order to remain a sprinter, her coach suggested she try on the 800. She neither balked nor celebrated. She just ran, and the more she ran, the more she came to believe the 800 was misunderstood. It was brutal, but also “endlessly intriguing, to try and crack that code,” to make the race less brutal. Her relationship with her speciality transformed, adding a “love-” to “hate.”

For Rainey-Valmon and Price—and most 800ers who excel where others change events or sports—the final 100-meter stretch proved pivotal. At events like the world championships now being held at Hayward Field, most, if not all, of the finalists should be grouped relatively close together after the final turn. Two things separate them down the homestretch: their top speed and the energy they have saved (or sacrificed) to reach it.

Unlike the marquee sprint races, some track aficionados, like Rainey-Valmon, prefer the longer distances. The 100-meter dash, for instance, is built on hype and anticipation. There’s strategy, but not a ton, and it’s hard to watch more than one runner, because it’s over in a blink. In the 400, 800 and 1,500, tactics matter in addition to speed, drawing out the drama. But watching that unfold is one thing; running it borders on macabre.

Donald Trump-themed burger restaurant in Texas is a hit with locals and tourists, report says

  Donald Trump-themed burger restaurant in Texas is a hit with locals and tourists, report says The restaurant in Bellville, Texas, is capitalising on strong local support for the former President – and its appeal as a weird tourist attraction.His political team is even getting ready for a spring reelection announcement, according to the Washington Post.

“I almost walked away, because it was just too much on my shoulders,” Price says. “I didn’t know how to handle it. So it’s really cool to see how she still finds … joy.

It must be asked: what kind of human would enjoy this?

Athing Mu, that's who.

Before Athing became a thing, her parents emigrated from Sudan to the United States. They raised seven children—Athing is the second youngest—teaching each to chase their aims, of which Athing had many. She learned to play the tenor saxophone, became an honor student, ran for student council, dabbled in interior design, tried photography, made YouTube videos, volunteered and even, more recently, decided she would own and operate a farm whenever she stops running. But nothing made her happier than track, the sport that called like a siren to her soul.

Price and Rainey-Valmon both cite the same moment they noticed the tall (5’, 10”), lanky blur barreling around a curve in a 600-meter heat at the USATF Indoor Championships in 2019. Both blinked when they saw the time: 1:23.23. A female high school athlete had never run that fast before—and Mu was still a junior, still only 16. “Wow. She just demolished all the pros,” Price thought, while watching the race at home. “We better watch out.”

Soon enough, Price and Mu became friends, then teammates. Price marveled at how loose Mu was before races, always laughing and telling jokes, then settling into an eerie calm—eerie, at least, to her competitors. “In her essence, there’s this maturity about her,” Price says. “She’s good. She says she’s good. Like, ‘I run the 800 because I’m good at the 800.’ She’s confident and humble and hard to explain.” Price pauses, then tries. “Truly special,” she says.

Manchin declines to say if he'll support Biden in 2024: 'I'm not getting involved in that'

  Manchin declines to say if he'll support Biden in 2024: 'I'm not getting involved in that' "I'm not getting into 2022 or 2024. Whoever is my president, that's my president. And Joe Biden is my president right now," Manchin said on Sunday.During an interview on ABC's "This Week," the West Virginia Democrat told Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl that he didn't want to entertain questions regarding whether he'd back Biden if the incumbent president was renominated and stood for reelection.

Mu won a silver medal in the 800 meters at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018. She placed first in three events (400, 800, 1,500) and second in another (200) at the junior Olympic nationals that same year, then won the 400 and 800 at outdoor and indoor nationals.

Joy propelled her ascension. It led her to Texas A&M, where, in her freshman 2021 season, she raced 36 times—and triumphed in 35 races. In the one event she didn’t win—the NCAA indoor 400-meter final—she finished second. In the outdoor season that year, she didn’t lose at all.

She turned pro. She signed with Nike. She showed up at the Olympic trials and won that 800. And then she went to Tokyo, where she set a U.S. record with another victory and became the first American female runner to win the 800 since Madeline Manning in 1968. Mu also anchored the 4x400 relay, and by its end, she was so far ahead, she could have sat down, solved a puzzle, worked out, painted her nails, ate lunch, got up and still won her second gold.

Mu grabbed two gold medals in her first ever Olympic Games. Andrew Nelles/USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Sports Illustrated Mu grabbed two gold medals in her first ever Olympic Games. Andrew Nelles/USA TODAY Sports

Apparently, that wasn’t enough, because Mu flew to the Prefontaine Classic last summer and broke her own U.S. mark, registering a 1:55.04. She was 19 years old—and, sometimes, after the harshest race in her sport, she kept running, until she reached the stands to celebrate. Mu also favored barrettes that spelled out “confidence” in pink jewels, gold nails and dogs, making her the rare athlete who understood her proximity to superstardom and yet never displayed that in an obnoxious way.

This year, Mu cut down on her total races. No matter. The regimen she embarked on should yield even-faster times soon enough. She arrived here, at Hayward Field, and described her mood as “very relaxed, very chill.” Her resting heart rate may not have registered as she said that. But it did strike a chord with Allyson Felix, the soon-to-retire face of American track and field. Mu nimbly maintained a delicate balance, Felix said, in that Mu didn’t push down her emotions, or pretend that the expectations of her didn’t exist. She accepted them with the same calm, processing and discarding rather than allowing all the changes in her life to alter the one thing she does better than all things. Consistency stood out. Even with her mindset.

See Anya Taylor-Joy As Furiosa On The Set Of The Mad Max Prequel

  See Anya Taylor-Joy As Furiosa On The Set Of The Mad Max Prequel Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth are both in the middle of filming the Mad Max: Fury Road prequel, Furiosa. The film featured Charlize Theron in that role, which she was fantastic. Now, there has been a prequel film that sees Taylor taking on the role of a younger Furiosa. We have been given some great behind-the-scenes shots of both previously mentioned actors in their roles or costumes. The internet sleuths have now found another, this time by showing a good look at Taylor in the titular role. You can see the images below: One huge distinction that we see is that Anya Taylor-Joy has hair.

It’s this approach—stoic, unflinching, unchanged—that Mu will deploy toward attempting to break a world record some believe will never actually be broken. The 800 mark was set in 1983 by Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia, and most everyone in track and field believes it’s tainted. They cite a variety of reasons: the eye test, the time period and, mostly, the time itself, so fast it defied things like physics and logic.

“It is difficult to ignore the reports of widespread state-mandated doping that is alleged to have been taking place when the 400 meter and 800 meter records were set,” Rainey-Valmon says. “I think Athing and several women running now can challenge those records and that would be really exciting to see.”

Regardless, in order to break that time, Mu must shave almost two seconds off her already lightning-quick personal best. Her competition could help her to run even faster. Start with Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain, another 800 prodigy who took the silver medal home from Tokyo. “Everyone is super excited to see the progression we can make,” Mu says. “We are super young, and we’re not afraid to go out there and show who we are and what we can do.”

Mu will also face game challengers at home. Like Raevyn Rogers, the Oregon star turned pro whose likeness is etched onto The Hayward Field Tower, and Ajeé Wilson, a two-time world championships medalist. All will compete in Sunday’s final, the one Mu is favored to win.

Naturally, she’s “never really super pondering, like, run this time right now,” because she’s Mu, and that would be neither joyous, nor much fun. She says, “I would love to get way faster, way stronger, just way better.” But for now, consistency is enough. When Rainey-Valmon ran a 1:57.04, she thought, I can run 1:55. Extrapolate that same logic to Mu, who is already there, and the world record doesn’t seem so out of reach.

“I definitely love being pushed,” Mu says. (Writer aside: come on!)

In fact, Price says she retired recently because, while she’s optimistic, she’s also realistic, and the three female American 800 leaders eventually appeared unbeatable. Price sees medal sweeps in their collective, not-too-distant futures. That Mu will enjoy the beast that is the 800 while winning is the odd part. It's also Mu, which makes it less odd.

“Right now,” says Joyner, the Olympian and coach, “we see people like (Mu) breaking ceilings. Everybody is. But it’s not about ego. It’s about technique. And it’s about … joy.”

More Track and Field Coverage:

  • With Storied Career Solidified, Mo Farah Reveals His Deepest Secret to the World
  • Noah Lyles Put on the Performance of a Lifetime to Become the U.S.’s Fastest Man
  • SI:AM | The U.S. Is Crushing It at the World Track Championships

See Anya Taylor-Joy As Furiosa On The Set Of The Mad Max Prequel .
Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth are both in the middle of filming the Mad Max: Fury Road prequel, Furiosa. The film featured Charlize Theron in that role, which she was fantastic. Now, there has been a prequel film that sees Taylor taking on the role of a younger Furiosa. We have been given some great behind-the-scenes shots of both previously mentioned actors in their roles or costumes. The internet sleuths have now found another, this time by showing a good look at Taylor in the titular role. You can see the images below: One huge distinction that we see is that Anya Taylor-Joy has hair.

See also