In 2012, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad missed making the U.S. Olympic team by just one spot.
Four years later, the 30-year-old will be the first American to wear a hijab while representing the U.S. at the Olympics. A hijab is a veil that covers the head, neck, and chest of Muslim women, signifying modesty and privacy.
“I felt like it’s been this dream that developed amongst my family, my friends, my community, and I think that helped me to get where I am,” Muhammad said. “It seemed really important to everyone. Just to shatter those stereotypes that Muslim women couldn’t achieve certain things.” (USA Today)
Originally from New Jersey, Muhammad picked up fencing when she was 13. Being from a sports-loving family, her parents searched for a sport she could play while being fully covered, so she could still live according to the guidelines of her faith.
When not whipping her saber around, Muhammad can be found working on her clothing line, Louella, which brings modest but chic clothing to women in the U.S.
Let’s get to know this breakthrough athlete even better: