- Athing Mu, the star runner from Texas A&M, announced on Thursday, June 24 that she is signing with Nike, and will be represented by agent Wes Felix.
- Mu broke several collegiate records during her year running with Texas A&M, including the 400 meters.
- She’ll run in the preliminary heats of the women’s 800 meters on Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Athing Mu, the Texas A&M phenom who set numerous collegiate and U-20 records in the 400 and 800 meters during her first year of college, is turning pro.
When she toes the line for the first round of the 800 meters at the Olympic Trials on June 24, the 5-foot-10 runner will be wearing a Nike uniform. She’s considered a favorite to make the team.
Mu, who just turned 19, ran 1:57.73 for 800 meters in April, which was a collegiate record, the fastest time by an American so far this year, and the second-fastest time in the world in 2021.
At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Mu broke her own collegiate record in the 400 meters, running 49.57 and finishing 1.17 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Talitha Diggs of Florida. She also anchored the Texas A&M team to victory in the 4×400-meter relay in 3:22.34, another collegiate record. Mu split 48:85 on her leg.
Her 400-meter time is also the fastest time by an American in 2021, and the fourth-fastest in the world.
In a post-race press conference, she said was optimistic about her chances at the Trials in the 800. “I believe I can make the team,” she said.
She also used the post-NCAA press conference as a chance to lobby for a spot on the 4×400-meter team at the Olympic Games.
“I would love to run on the Olympic 4×4,” she said. “I mean, I know experience is definitely something that I guess you look for on an Olympic team. But not going to lie, I definitely watched a couple of 4×4 races of Team USA. Watching their splits and everything—and I remember watching Allyson Felix split 48—I believe this was the 2017 London World Championships. And you know what? I split 48 today. So. Wink wink, Team USA coaches.”
Mu gave an exaggerated wink and pointed at the camera broadcasting the press conference.
In addition to her unrivaled speed in the college ranks, she possesses an effervescence, a rare combination of confidence and polish that’s unusual in an athlete so young and is certainly made her appealing to marketers.
Her agent is Wes Felix, who also represents or advises some of the biggest names in the sport, including his sister Allyson Felix, hurdler Sydney McLaughlin, and Mary Cain. Wes Felix advised steeplechaser Colleen Quigley earlier this year when she parted ways with Nike and inked a new deal with Lululemon.
One agent who wasn’t part of Mu’s deal with Nike estimated that she’ll be earning a base salary of $500,000 to $750,000 per year, with bonuses for medals and records.
Mu grew up in Trenton, New Jersey, and she’s one of seven children. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Sudan before Mu was born.
Mu isn’t the only high-profile athlete to go pro. Hobbs Kessler, who broke the 1500-meter national high-school record in 3:34.36 at the Portland Track Festival in May, announced that he will race the 1500 meters at Trials as an Adidas athlete. Kessler will continue to train with Ron Warhurst as his primary coach.
This story will be updated.
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