For the first time in her professional career, Athing Mu looked like she could lose an 800-meter race.
Mu typically dominates her races with a unique and effortless stride that features little arm movement and, seemingly, energy. While her world-class competitors are grunting and grimacing, trying to keep pace, Mu is known to hold a stoic face and move gracefully as she builds a gap between herself and the field.
But that’s not what happened on Sunday night at the 800-meter world championship final. Typically, Mu turns to another gear with 200 meters left in the race, leaving her competitors behind. But this evening, Keely Hodgkinson of Britain kept pace.
The crowd at Hayward Field roared as Mu and Hodgkinson ran side-by-side for the final 100 meters. Mu outleaned Hodgkinson at the finish line with a time of 1 minute 56.30 seconds, beating Hodgkinson by just eight-hundredths of a second. Mary Moraa of Kenya finished third.
Hodgkinson also finished behind Mu at last summer’s 800-meter Olympic final, setting a national record with a time of 1:55.88. She said she was happy another silver, this one a world championship medal, but that it was somewhat bittersweet to be “so close” to gold.