Athing Mu Teams Up with OLAY for Olympics Partnership: A Winning Combination for Beauty and Fitness

As the youngest woman in history to hold Olympic and world titles in an individual track and field event, Athing Mu is more than used to having a lot of eyes on her.

The New Jersey native shook up the world of track and field in 2020 when she won gold in the 800-meter race. As she gears up for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, she has one thing on her mind — gratitude.

“I’m just really fortunate to be able to have multiple cycles within the Olympic world because some people take much longer to get to that point in their career than I have, so I feel blessed to be able to just compete again another four years down the line,” Mu tells EBONY.

Her prior victory is made even sweeter given the state of the world during the pandemic, which caused the 2020 Olympics to be pushed back to 2021. Always one to take things in stride, Mu has never been one to dwell on matters out of her control. Instead, she focuses on the means within her power to stand out in a crowd of competitors all gunning for the top spot.

Sometimes that looks like blinging out your Nike “Mint Foam” Air Zoom Maxflys for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Hungary.

“Leading into Budapest last year, I decided to just bedazzle my shoes,” she says, explaining the decision as a way to further identify herself on the field. “I’ve learned after competing in it for so long that you have a very small window of kind of being able to be different compared to your competitors or just all the athletes that are in your sport overall. And so I like to take the little chances that I have to just emphasize myself and express who I really am besides just being a really great athlete.”

This passion for self-expression has expanded beyond the track and can be reflected in other areas of her life, such as her current collaboration with Olay, the history-maker’s first beauty partnership, a relationship that has opened her up to the wondrous world of regimented beauty routines.

“I used to get asked all the time what my skincare routine and things like that were, and I’m like, ‘I actually don’t do anything like that,’” says Mu. “Now, with being in a partnership with Olay, I’ve gotten into a regimen where I have my five steps that it takes for me to get my skin together, whether it’s before or after training,” she says.

Much like the world of professional sports, sticking to a routine is essential to seeing progress.

“That correlates really well into the track and field side of things. Because as an athlete, you might want to do a lot of things at once instead of just sticking to a simple routine that would be super beneficial. And I think that’s how I work best when it comes to being an athlete, I like to just stick to a regular, consistent regimen and routine that works best for me,” says Mu.

“Once you find that kind of perfect spot, it’s just really nice to have that foundation built, whether it’s athleticism or beauty,” says Mu.

Finding this parallel has been transformative for Mu, who says alignment is an integral part of everything she does.

“With the things that I enjoy outside the sport, like fashion and beauty, it was a great idea to have Olay as a partner going into these Olympic Games since I am so into beauty and fashion,” says Mu.

Beyond the bounds of topical aesthetics, Mu says she has found that beauty presents a perfect parallel between the paved loops she runs with world-class vigor. The beginning always meets the end, and returning to yourself is essential.

“Beauty is finding and becoming one with yourself. Of course, there are a lot of things that you can do outside of yourself to emphasize or perfect how you look. But I think true beauty comes from when you find perfection in things that may not be perfect or may not be the norm of the world or just society,” says Mu.

This, she says, is a means of staying sane in a society that constantly enforces increasingly unrealistic and, in some cases, openly dangerous aesthetic standards.

“Sometimes beauty goes into too many different directions. But it starts with you. And when you are able to find that, I think that’s where you start learning what true beauty is,” says Mu.

“I’ve started to see that beauty goes way beyond what the standard is. The whole entire world kind of falls into these trends, but I’ve kind of decided from young that I didn’t want to be like that,” says Mu.

As she gears up for the biggest sports event in the world, she’s found that nothing fuels her more than being unapologetically Athing, on and off the track.

“I’m most happy when it comes to just me being my authentic self. And I’ve learned to grow into my own body and into just who I am as a whole,” says Mu.

Updated: June 7, 2024 — 3:02 pm