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Happy belated birthday to Trenton's Athing Mu

Athing Mu, Tokyo Olympic champion in the 800-meter and 4×400-meter races, is celebrated at the Serenity Garden on Prospect Street in Trenton. (LA Parker/The Trentonian)

Happy belated birthday, Athing Mu.

Trenton's world-class track and field star turned 22 on Saturday, June 8. Amazingly, Mu, a two-time Olympic gold medalist (800 and 4×400 meters), has not competed in any races this year. Last year, Mu only competed in three 800-meter events.

The Trenton Central High School and Texas A&M University graduate told Runners World she suffered growing pains.

“Last year was pretty tough,” Mu said. “Starting a new era and being a full-time professional is a lot different than being a student-athlete in college. There were just a lot of changes and I didn't really know how to balance it. But I think that showed me what I need to do this year,” said Mu, who lives in Los Angeles.

While many limit Mu to the sport of athletics, her life off the track revolves around fashion and beauty, including a recent deal as a sales manager for Olay products. Mu said this partnership is a continuation of her adventure of self-discovery.

“My dreams and aspirations were not just about athletics because I never identified with just athletics. I always wanted to do other things and see what else I could achieve,” Mu explained.

Mu has signed a lucrative contract with Nike and does endorsements for Coca-Cola and Neiman Marcus. The Mu brand is growing and further success on the track could make the Trenton native's dreams off the track even bigger.

Mu withdrew from the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic 800m race due to pain in her left thigh. The race on May 25 featured numerous rivals, including Briton Keely Hodgkinson (1:55.78), who overtook world champion Mary Moraa (1:56.71) of Kenya with 150 metres to go. Another Briton, Jemma Reekie (1:57.45), finished third. All three are expected in Paris for a possible showdown with Mu.

Mu will compete in the Olympic Qualifying competitions in Eugene, Oregon on June 21, where she must finish in the top three to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris in August.

Anna Harden

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