Defending 800-meter gold medalist Athing Mu falls in Olympic trials, will miss Paris

Athing Mu, the defending Olympic gold medalist in the 800-meter race, tripped and fell during trials Monday, ending her bid to make the U.S. team headed to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The shocking turn of events for Mu, the 2023 World Championships bronze medalist, showed how difficult it is to make the elite U.S. track and field Olympics team.

Nia Akins, Allie Wilson and Juliette Whittaker finished 1-2-3 and are all going to their first Olympic Games.

The mishap, just a few moments into the final race to determine who’s getting on the plane to Paris, took place at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon.

“It doesn’t matter who you are,” Ato Boldon told NBC Olympics in a pre-Trials roundtable. “You’re guaranteed drama. It’s the toughest team in the world to make.”

Earlier in the year, Mu had been nursing a sore hamstring and pulled out of two competitions.

Still, many expected her to compete in Paris.

“It’s tough to see, especially for someone like Athing, who you know could win a gold medal,” 400-meter hurdler Rai Benjamin said from the sideline Monday. “And you just — you feel for her, because it’s, like, she’s supposed to be there, you know? But that’s just USA Track & Field. Like, it’s the hardest team to make, and anything can happen here.”

At the 2020 Tokyo Games, Mu earned gold medals in the 800 meters and the 4×400-meter relay.

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