History-Making Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad Wins First Round of Fencing Competition

By Sameer Rao Aug 08, 2016

Team USA fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad started her historic Olympic debut with a victory in Rio de Janeiro today (August 8).

Muhammad, the first American Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab, won her opening match against Ukraine’s Olena Kravatska in the round of 32 (the first single-elimination tournament round). While she subsequently lost to France’s Cecelia Berder in the round of 16, she will still participate in the team competition rounds in the Rio games.

Many feel that Muhammad’s presence on Team USA rebukes Islamophobic assertions that Muslims cannot be American. "I think his words are very dangerous," Muhammad told CNN last week about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. "When these types of comments are made, no one thinks about how they really affect people. I’m African-American. I don’t have another home to go to. My family was born here. I was born here. I’ve grown up in [New] Jersey. All my family’s from Jersey. It’s like, well, where do we go?"

(H/t Los Angeles Times)