Response Blog: USA Track & Field Star Athing Mu Has Nobody to Blame But Herself for Falling Flat on Her Face in The Olympic Trials

I know how ridiculous it is for me to be writing a response blog to Jordie in regards to an Olympic Track & Field Trials take. But I had this whole damn blog written this morning, then right when I finished I saw that he had just published one (which is my fault I should have checked better ahead of time). However, when I read his blog, I couldn't have disagreed more with his insane take that her blowing a tire mid race is somehow another runner's fault. And I didn't want my time spent on this very important track & field take to go completely to waste. So here's the correct take on what happened to Athing Mu at the 800m women's Olympic trial finals last night.

If you aren't aware of the story, Athing Mu is the defending gold medal winner and the American record holder in the women's 800m dash. She had posted the fastest semi-final time and was essentially a shoe-in to win last night's final. By most accounts she's the United States' best chance at a gold medal in the 800m. But she ate shit 200m into the race. Fell flat on her face. She threw the whole race into chaos and failed to qualify.  

Jordie's take was that Athing Mu got screwed. That she's a powerhouse who nobody had a chance of beating, and she was Tanya Harding'd by a fellow runner. The Tanya Harding part was maybe a bit tongue n' cheek, but at minimum his take was that Athing Mu is the victim in all of this. That what happened to her was wildly unfair, and she's being cheated out of a chance to defend her gold medal.

Well I've watched the tapes. I have done my due diligence of reading a couple articles, scrolling some tweets, and diving into obscure track and field forums. In conclusion of my research, I have determined that yesterday's incident was unequivocally Athing Mu's fault. She brought the whole thing on herself

Now if you want to argue that the United States Olympic qualifying rules are stupid, that makes sense. It's a little fucked up that these athletes compete for 4-years, put together a whole body of work, and it can all be for nothing if in the final race there's a freak accident. We wouldn't have to pick our Olympians that way. Other countries have rules in place that allow them to assure their best athletes are sent to the Olympics in the event of something like this occurring. If we wanted our best chance of winning gold in the 800m, we'd change those rules right now and gie Athing Mu a free pass to Paris. But for whatever reason America doesn't do that way. Ironically enough, America doesn't want any politics getting in the way of something as important and as sacred as the Olympic games. 

But Athing Mu's fall wasn't bad luck. It wasn't a freak accident. And it most certainly wasn't the fault of another runner. By all accounts, Athing Mu has been begging for something like this to happen for years. For example, just last year in the World Semi-Final she was involved in a similar collision with a runner from South Africa


I dove into the Lets Run message boards and found a whole debate as to who was at fault there.  A lot of people seem to think that the South African runner, Prudence Sekgodiso, had established inside position, and Mu was at fault for trying to cut her off. Other's think Mu had position and was clipped from behind. But one thing that everyone agrees on is that Athing Mu has an exceptionally long stride, which frequently puts her in positions that are high risk for a collision. 

In another instance at the 2021 Olympic trials, the winner of this years final Nia Akins was tripped up by Athing Mu right out of the gate.

It was only a matter of time before Mu ended up on the wrong end of one of these. It's not necessarily her fault that she has a long stride. It gives her a huge advantage in every other way. But with that she has a responsibility to know how to control that in a pack of runners. She obviously has a problem with that. If you actually watch the incident from yesterday (27 seconds into the following video), Athing Mu recklessly tries to cut into the middle of the pack when there is clearly not enough room to do so.

If there's anybody who we should feel bad for, and has a right to be pissed off, it's 5th place finisher Sage Hurta-Klecker. Athing Mu's shit eating smack dab in the middle of everyone knocked her off course, and she wound up finishing just a couple places away from qualifying.


She doesn't say anything directly, but it really feels like she's holding something back. Like she really wants to tell a certain runner to go fuck herself for ruining what might be her best shot. Although I will say, Klecker might be using the incident as a convenient excuse. Because if Mu doesn't trip, Klecker is 100% finishing behind her. And Klecker's 5th place finish was still nearly 2 seconds away from qualifying. When I watch the video, it doesn't look to me that she had a whole 2 seconds knocked off her pace. But regardless, the other runners who were affected by this have way more of a grip than Mu does. Mu's the one who caused the collision. We should feel way worse for the runners who were affected by this and did nothing wrong.

I still think Athing Mu deserves to be on the Olympic team. But she did this to herself. You can feel bad for her based on the fact that 4 years of training has to come down to one single race. Our Olympic committee should really fix that. But anyone who frames this as Athing Mu being tripped up by another runner is crazy. She tripped herself up. She probably thought she could bully her way to the middle of the pack with her big long strides and her competition would just get out of the way. But they're entitled to their running space just as much as she is. She made a reckless move and fell over. Case closed.