Olympic Champion Athing Mu Isn’t Running Pre Because She Got Covid
May 27, 2022
Update: This article was originally titled, “Olympic Champion Athing Mu Isn’t Running The 2022 Prefontaine Classic and No One Knows Why”. After we published it, Athing Mu posted on Instagram that she got COVID recently and is “still getting back into my rhythm of things” and thus will not be competing at the Pre Classic.
Her full Instagram statement is embedded below:
View this post on Instagram
Original article below:
EUGENE, Ore. – It has been three days since Athing Mu’s name was removed from the women’s 800-meter start list for this weekend’s Prefontaine Classic, and the track & field world is still waiting on an explanation why.
Mu, the 19-year-old Olympic 800m champion and American record holder, is one of the United States’ biggest stars, and her showdown with 20-year-old Olympic silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson at Pre was set to be one of the best races of the entire meet. But instead of racing at Pre, Mu is currently at the NCAA West Regionals in Fayetteville, Ark., in her role as volunteer coach at Texas A&M, the school for which Mu competed last year. A source told LetsRun.com they said they saw her run a workout there on Thursday.
Why Mu is in Fayetteville instead of Eugene is unclear. LetsRun asked Pre Classic co-meet director Michael Reilly why Mu withdrew, and he directed us to ask Mu’s management. So we reached out to Mu’s agent Wes Felix, but he did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him. So finally we reached out to Mu herself on Instagram. Still, zero response.
This would not happen in a major professional sport. The Golden State Warriors would not announce four days before a game that Stephen Curry isn’t playing and refuse to provide any sort of explanation why. Yet that is exactly what is happening here as one of America’s biggest stars is absent from one of the biggest track meets held on American soil. The fans deserve better.
It’s truly as simple as the meet writing a three-sentence explanation and emailing it out or Mu doing it herself and posting it on Instagram explaining she’s developed an injury. Or if it is something too private to discuss openly, then simply have her agent say she’s not competing for personal reasons or a family emergency. Those sort of explanations are given all the time in major professional sports. But fans who bought tickets a month ago expecting to see Athing Mu race at Pre at the very least deserve some sort of explanation why she won’t be here this weekend.
The fact that Mu is missing this specific meet also invites speculation. She competed fairly recently, winning the 400m at the Puerto Rico Athletics Classic on May 12 in 50.42, and most Nike athletes have a clause in their contract requiring them to compete at the Pre Classic each year (Mu is sponsored by Nike). Why, then, would she be in Arkansas this weekend?