TOKYO – The late Kobe Bryant coined the term “Mamba Mentality.” In track and field “Medal Mentality” seems like more of an appropriate term. It’s a phrase Athing Mu said she thought of at the Tokyo Olympics. Following her performance in the women’s 800 meters, she might want to get it trademarked.
The 19-year-old prodigy won the 800-meter final, corssing the line in 1:55.21 to break the American record. She led for the entire race. Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain ran in 1:55.88 to place second and American Raevyn Rogers rounded out the top three, finishing in 1:56.81.
With the victory, Mu joined Madeline Manning-Mims as the only two American women to win Olympic gold in the 800 meters. Manning-Mims accomplished the feat 53 years ago at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
“Coming here, I came with a medal mentality,” Mu said. “I came here wanting a medal.
Mu’s mentality was clear through the qualifying rounds and in the final. She finished all three races comfortably in first place.
“I came here with the idea of getting a medal,” Mu said. “That’s been one of my goals since after NCAAs.”
Mu’s Olympic gold is the crowning achievement in what was a remarkable, record-setting track and field season for the product of Trenton, New Jersey. She broke the collegiate 400- and 800-meter records as a freshman at Texas A&M, turned pro at U.S. trials and won the 800 meters and followed that up with a superb gold-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics.
“She’s a great person and super talented,” American men’s 800-meter runner Clayton Murphy said. “It’s a lot of fun to see what she’s doing. She’s a special person and it’s a lot of fun to watch her compete.”
Mu is just the second American to win a track and field gold medal thus far at the Tokyo Olympics. Valarie Allman won a gold medal in the women’s discus on Monday