The Olympic season is quicikly coming upon us and this is the most I’ve paid attention to it my whole life. Most of that is thanks to continuously witnessing the Black women who broke records this year and secured their Tokyo spots. Watching these strong, unapologetically Black women go down in history has been inspiring to say the least. I love to see it and all their hard work deserves to be talked about. So here are just a few standout Black women we’ll get to see competing in Tokyo in the coming weeks.
Sydney McLaughlin (Hurdler and Sprinter)
Sydney Mclaughlin is an American Hurdler and sprinter who competed for the University of Kentucky before turning professional. She recently broke the world record in women’s 400-meter hurdles. Her time of 51.90 made her the first woman to break the 52-second barrier. McLaughlin later credited her faith and her coach, Bob Kersee, saying, “A lot of things you really can’t see coming, but just having that childlike faith and just trusting that everything’s going to work out. Bobby’s really good at that and I’m really happy that I chose to go with him.” Well, whether it’s thanks to her pure talent, her coach, or faith Sydney has proved herself as an athlete to watch. This will be her second time going to the Olympics.
Athing Mu (Middle Distance Runner)
Athing Mu is another person who has continued to break barriers and make a name for herself. She’s a Texas A&M freshman who has set her eyes on breaking records and has lived up to her own goals time and time again. One of her spectacular performances happened again recently as she earned a path to Tokyo. This wasn’t her first noteworthy feat though. She also set the world under-20 record once when she was 16 in the indoor 600 meters and then again in early 2021 in the women’s indoor 800 meters. Her current time is world-leading and has made her the second-fastest American.
Allyson Felix (Track & Field Sprinter)
Allyson Felix has been very open on how physically challenging the past few years have been on her. The birth of her daughter in 2018 was a taxing experience that required an energy c-section and landed her a month in the neonatal intensive care unit. Felix vowed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and at 35 years old she did just that despite all odds, finishing second in the 400 meters at the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Felix, who is thee most decorated track and field athlete, also attempted to qualify in the 200 M but unfortunately did not. Despite that, she’s such an inspiration to people everywhere with big dreams and big obstacles to overcome. “I feel a mix of all emotions,” Felix told reporters following the recent qualifying race. “I’m real excited obviously to be going to Tokyo. There’s a part of me that’s sad because this has been my life for so long. This is my last time around. I feel sad for that, but also excited for what’s to come.”
Raven Saunders (Shot Put & Discus Throw)
Raven Saunders is another college graduate who qualified just this week for the Tokyo Olympic games. She finished second in shot put at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. This is not Raven’s first rodeo, as she landed fifth in the shot put at her last Olympics games. The only person someone is truly competing against is themselves and Saunders beat her personal best in Oregon. She also got a lot of attention for her shaved green head and hulk mask she wore while competing. I rock a nearly bald do with green hair, so honestly, I think me and Saunders might have a connection. I’ll be rooting for her all the way to Tokyo
HONORABLE MENTION: Sha’carri Richardson (Track & Field Sprinter)
You might have already heard about Sha’carri Richardson, and if you haven’t, where have you been the last couple of weeks? She’s a LSU track and field sprinter who’s name has been blowing up all over social media and in the sports world since she wowed the world during the Olympic trials by becoming the sixth fastest woman of all time and the fourth fastest American woman in history.
The girl with the flame colored weave, long lashes and even longer nails captured everyone’s heart with her confidence, compelling story, and unforgettable personality. Unfortunately, Richardson was removed from the Olympic team after testing positive for THC. The track star gracefully owned up to her mistake, and has vowed to make a return to the Olympic games.
All these women are out in the world making names for themselves and securing a role in history and it’s great to finally see talented, hard working Black women being recognized for their efforts. The sports world is notorious for being prejudiced and rude towards Black women, but despite all the negativity they are still thriving. I admire all of these women and the other Black women in the various Olympic sports. That is saying a lot coming from someone like me who doesn’t understand a lick about sports. They have officially made me want to tune in to watch the 2021 Olympic games.
By Kendal Amos, Sophomore, Little Black Pearl