We have some seriously good news: fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad has become for the first U.S hijab-wearer to qualify for the olympics. And it’s about time!
Hailing from New Jersey, Ibtihaj recently opened up to Elle about what it’s like to make history.
She first started fencing as a child, encouraged by her parents. And after fencing for years, she began to think that the U.S fencing team needed to be more diverse, and she was the one who was going to make it happen.
“When I first decided to even continue on this journey to qualify for the Olympic team after failing to qualify in 2012, one of the driving forces that ultimately helped me to keep going and qualify for 2016 was the potential of having a Muslim woman be on a U.S. team. I felt like it was long overdue.”
But that didn’t mean she still didn’t have some reluctancy.
“There was this fear I wouldn’t be accepted, especially from a sponsorship level because I was different and that’s just been really important to me, not just as an African American, but also a Muslim.”
She’s since received sponsorship from Visa and continues to garner support and attention around the world.
“What I find to be so exciting in this moment in my career is finding different partnerships that have helped me believe that my religious beliefs don’t hinder me from accomplishing my goals.”
We’re so excited for her and can’t wait to see what she can do in Rio. #TeamIbtihaj