Athing Mu becomes first American woman to win 800m, keeps win streak alive (video)

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One year after becoming an Olympic gold medalist, Athing Mu is a world champion, too.

Mu won the women’s 800m on Sunday night at the 2022 World Track and Field Championships, holding off Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson in a final sprint down the backstretch to cross the line in 1:56.30.

Hodgkinson claimed silver in 1:56.38 — the same 1-2 result as last summer’s Tokyo Olympics — while Kenya’s Mary Moraa picked up bronze with a personal best of 1:56.71. (Video of the women’s 800m final is embedded above.) 

Mu becomes the first American woman to win the 800m world championship title, an event that has been contested since 1983.

“I didn’t know about that (the drought) til two days ago,” Mu said after the final.

The 20-year-old also keeps her nearly three-year win streak alive; she hasn’t lost an outdoor race (in any round, at any distance) since September 2019.

After the race, Mu said she wasn’t feeling her best heading into Sunday night’s final.

“I just physically wasn’t where I want to be,” she said. “I knew it was gonna be a little tough… Thankfully I got the gold.”

Both Mu and Hodgkinson are just 20 years old, something the Brit pointed to after claiming silver: “We’ve got many, many years ahead of us.”

She added: “I’m a bit gutted because I was so close, but it is what it is, and we have world champs next year so we’ll go again.”

Ahead of Worlds, Mu said she aims to run the 400-800 double at a future championship, plus “eventually have a world record under my belt.”

Oregon product Raevyn Rogers, the 2019 world silver medalist and 2021 Olympic bronze medalist, was sixth, while fellow American and 2022 world indoor champion Ajee’ Wilson placed eighth.

For a full recap of the final day of the 2022 World Athletics Championships, head over to OlympicTalk.

The NBC Sports research team contributed to this report.

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC