USA's Athing Mu storms to women's 800m gold

The 19-year-old set a national record of 1:55.21 to become Olympic champion. British teenager Keely Hodgkinson wins the silver, with the USA's Raevyn Rogers winning bronze. 

3 min
Athing Mu
(Picture by 2021 Getty Images)

The USA's Athing Mu has won the women's 800m final in incredible fashion, finishing in a national record of 1:55.21. The 19-year-old was in a class of her own, streaking away from the field to set the fastest time of the year.

Great Britain's Keely Hodgkinson, herself 19, ran brilliantly to win silver in a British national record of 1:55.88, with Raevyn Rogers of the USA finishing third (1:56.81) after an immense final 50 metres saw her run through the field to win bronze.

But the day belongs to Mu - a prodigy of athletics who is equally comfortable at 400m and 800m - who has won the Olympic gold medal in spectacular fashion.

READ MORE: Athing Mu: Five things you need to know about this record-breaking track star

Mu entered the competition as a favourite after streaking to victory in the US Olympic track and field trials. At just 16 years old, the athlete broke the American indoor 600m record in a time just 0.13 seconds off of the world record. Since then she has broken record after record from 400 all the way through to 800m. This season alone she broke six collegiate records, including the indoor 600m, indoor 800m, indoor 4×400m relay, outdoor 400m, outdoor 800m and outdoor 4×400m relay.

Now she has won the ultimate prize in the pressure pot of the Olympic Stadium - an Olympic gold medal.

Great Britain's Hodgkinson, who won silver, is herself a record-breaker, having become the world's fastest female indoor 800m runner under 20 when she clocked 1:59.03 in January in Vienna. Just seven months later she has broken the 1:56 mark - in an Olympic final no less - to set a new British record and take second spot on the podium.

READ MORE: Keely Hodgkinson: "I’m going to go for it and hopefully I’ll walk away with some metalwork"

After the race, an elated Mu spoke about what it means to win an Olympic gold medal at just 19 years old.

"It's awesome. I feel like I've just accomplished one of my goals," she said.

"I just wanted to be a medallist. I wasn't really putting gold on that, but as it got closer to the final today, I was like, 'Yeah, we want gold'.

"It's an accomplishment that I wanted off my list. I am just happy, blessed and excited to be here and took care of this experience as well as I could."

"Coming into the race I was just at peace. I wasn’t too anxious about it. You know I knew I wanted to get the gold medal and I just told myself I’m going to do all I have to do to get there.

"Just whatever it takes. I wasn’t thinking about pace I wasn’t thinking about how the race is going to go. I knew I was ready, I knew I was relaxed, confident so I just wanted to keep that going into the start of the race."

Hodgkinson, who broke Kelly Holmes' British record en route to the silver medal, was over the moon with her performance in Tokyo.

"That was such a good race from every single person in that race, it was so open and I wanted to leave it all out there," she said.

"It's going to take a couple of days to sink in but I'm so happy.

"I'm pretty speechless right now. Kelly Holmes is a legend, she's going to be a legend for British Athletics for a long time. I've looked up to her, I spoke to her over the past couple of days and she's a lovely person, I just have no words for that."

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