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Posted under: News

How Ibtihaj Muhammad has already made history at the 2016 Olympics

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Ibtihaj Muhammad has made history during the 2016 Olympic Games by becoming the first American athlete to compete in a hijab. Muhammad, a fierce competitor in the game of fencing, is competing in the Olympics for the first time this year. While she unfortunately was eliminated from the individual competition on Monday, she and the USA fencing team will have a shot at the gold in the team competition which takes place on Saturday, August 13th.
“This has been a beautiful experience for me. I know that this was written for me, the chips fell where they did, and I feel proud to represent Team U.S.A. even in defeat.”
Muhammad took on the sport of fencing particularly because of her devotion to her faith. Although she had participated in sports such as tennis and volleyball as a child, fencing was one of the only sports that allowed her to stay covered and wear her traditional hijab. She told the NY Times: “My parents were on a mission to find a sport without alteration.” Although Muhammad took on the sport much later than others at the age of 13, she proved to be a phenom in the field and went on to compete throughout college, earning All-American honors three times before devoting herself to the sport after graduation. She dominates in the saber division of fencing, and states it as being "the closest representation of who I am." Saber fencing competitions are much more aggressive and shorter in length, giving opponents less time to grapple with making tough decisions and process calculated moves. Muhammad's performance as an athlete has led to her being one of the most visible Olympians ever. But her proud identity as a Muslim-American has made her more recognized recently especially when it comes to her responses to Islamophobia, discrimination and anti-Muslim rhetoric. If you don't know Ibtihaj Muhammad already, get to know her now. She is #BlackGirlMagic personified and I can't wait to see what else she has in store. Be sure to watch Muhammad and Team USA's fencing team as they compete for the gold medal this Saturday, August 13.

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