On Sunday, August 29th, 2021, hundreds of people lined up to turn up and turn out for two-time gold medal-winning Olympian, Athing Mu, in a flawlessly executed welcome home celebration. Those in attendance included New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, and US Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman. Trenton welcomed Mu home like the true champion she is.
As a father, Mu’s “Welcome Home” parade was an opportunity for me to show my two-year-old daughter that she can be anything she wants to be and that she doesn’t have to look any further than her own backyard for examples of excellence. Mu’s parents immigrated from Sudan to Trenton where Mu, the second youngest of seven children, was born and raised in the early 2000s. She graduated with honors from Trenton High School in 2020 before heading off to Texas A&M University to study Kinesiology. Turning pro her first year in college, she announced this past June that she signed a contract with Nike. While addressing the crowd at the parade, Mu said that she always knew that she wanted to become an Olympian.”When people asked me what I wanted to do in the future and what my goals were, I said that I wanted to be an Olympian. I wanted to be a professional athlete, and I’m here now!”
Trenton is only eight miles, so the reverberations of our wins, as well as our losses, have a big impact within the community. One of the beautiful things about the parade in celebration of Athing Mu’s victory was the visible diversity in Trenton. The various ethnic groups and generations that came to cheer Mu on made me feel unified that day. It’s clear that Athing Mu made a choice to be the best version of herself and go after her dreams. “One thing I can say about Trenton, we may not be the shiniest city, you know we have our ups and downs, but when someone does something amazing, we all come together,” Mu said.