Olympic Gold Medalist Athing Mu, Millrose Legend Ajee' Wilson Bound for Jack and Lewis Rudin Women’s 800m in the 114th Millrose Games
By Elliott Denman
NEW YORK, NY, Dec. 7, 2021 – One of the best races of the 114th Millrose Games will feature a memorable matchup between two of the brightest stars in American middle distance running in the Jack and Lewis Rudin Women’s 800-meter event.
Athing Mu, the 19-year-old phenom, established herself as the best in the world, and Ajee' Wilson, who has been the class of the event domestically over the past decade, will be on center stage at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on Saturday, January 29th.
Mu was dominant in 2021, going undefeated outdoors. In Tokyo, she became the first American to win Olympic gold in the 800m since Madeline Manning in 1968, smashing Wilson’s American record in the process. She added a second gold in the 4x400m relay and lowered the American record further at the Prefontaine Classic, setting the current mark at 1:55.04.
Going into 2022, Mu’s potential is limitless, and she will look to continue her record-setting ways at Millrose.
“Millrose is the ideal place to begin my season,” Mu said. “The audience brings great energy and I always look forward to the atmosphere and competing at The Armory – it's iconic.”
Last week Mu was selected by World Athletics as the 2021 World Athletics Female Rising Star. The World Athletics Female Rising Star Award is given to the top under-20 athlete of the year in the world.
Standing in Mu’s way is the venerable Wilson, a six-time Millrose Games champion who has not lost at this meet since 2013. Wilson reigned supreme at the 2020 Millrose Games, breaking her own indoor American record with a time of 1:58.29.
Wilson has amassed 11 U.S. championships over the course of her career, earned two World Championship bronze medals, and anchored Team USA to a world record in the 4x800m relay at the 2018 Millrose Games.
“It's been a while,” Wilson said, referring to last season’s cancelled Millrose Games due to the pandemic, “so I'm super excited to return to The Armory for the Millrose Games.”
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that both athletes are local products, with Mu hailing from Trenton, NJ, and Wilson from Neptune, NJ. Their tri-state area roots, along with their explosive talent, will make this edition of the women’s Millrose 800m one to remember.
Jamaica middle-distance sensation and Olympian Natoya Goule-Toppin will join Mu and Wilson to add star power in this Millrose Games signature race. Goule-Toppin is one of the top three ranked athletes in the world and is a Pan American Games gold medalist.
“We are so fortunate that Olympic Gold medalist Athing Mu is joining us to compete against Ajee' Wilson, who set the American record at the last Millrose Games,” Armory Foundation Co-President Jonathan Schindel said. “With Jamaican Natoya Goule, a Tokyo Olympic finalist in this event, the Jack & Lewis Rudin women's 800 will be one of the most exciting events at the Millrose Games, a race that most of us can't wait to watch.”
This marks the third consecutive time the Rudin Family has sponsored the women’s 800m at the Millrose Games.
The Rudin family has a long and distinguished history supporting the sport of running and New York City. During the 111th Millrose Games the Rudin family sponsored the women’s 4x800 relay which culminated in a world record. Wilson has set the American indoor record in the last two Jack & Lewis Rudin Women’s 800m.
“We are honored to be associated with the 114th Millrose Games and the Women’s 800m with track & field champions Athing Mu and Ajee' Wilson,” said Eric and Bill Rudin. “With their recent international and national success and their ties to the metropolitan area, Athing and Ajee' are perfect ambassadors to women’s track & field.
“Our fathers were extremely devoted to New York City and the sport of running and sponsoring this event in their names continues to be a fitting tribute.”
The Millrose Games is the most storied event in indoor track and field. Stay tuned over the coming months as more athletes are announced for the 114th Millrose Games. U.S. Olympic Trials champions and Tokyo Olympic finalists Elle Purrier St. Pierre and Cole Hocker were the first two athletes to be announced for the 2022 women’s and men’s WHOOP Wanamaker Miles, respectively. They will be a part of the two signature events of the Millrose Games. Last week the world’s top two shot put athletes and Tokyo Olympic gold and silver medalists Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs confirmed they will return to the Millrose Games for the Thorne Men’s Shot Put.
Millrose Games alumni earned 29 medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including 13 gold medals. With highest-level competition at the youth, high school, collegiate, club, and professional levels, there is truly something for everyone at the Millrose Games.
The 114th Millrose Games is anticipated to be the most thrilling edition of the meet to date, with dozens of Olympians competing on The Armory's “Fastest Track in the World.”
Tickets can be purchased by going to https://www.millrosegames.org/get-tickets
For more information on all Armory Track events go to www.armory.nyc.
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About the Rudin Family
The Rudin Family has long supported running in New York City and is best known for the Samuel Rudin Trophy, presented since 1976 to the winning male and female runners in the TCS New York City Marathon. Samuel Rudin was an accomplished runner and member of the Class of 1918 at City College, not far from The Armory in Washington Heights where the Millrose Games takes place. His sons, Jack and Lewis, honored their late father by becoming the first sponsors of the five borough New York City Marathon. Now their sons, Eric and Bill, along with their children and grandchildren, carry on this tradition by sponsoring the Women’s 800m in memory of Jack and Lewis at the 114th Millrose Games. The Rudin Family’s real estate holdings are 16 commercial office buildings containing approximately 10.5 million square feet of space and 17 apartment buildings comprising over four million square feet of residences.
About The Armory Foundation
The Armory Foundation is a New York City non-profit institution, with the mission of "Keeping Kids on Track." Each season The Armory – the proud home of the Millrose Games – hosts more than 100 track & field meets and welcomes more than 220,000 visits. Among its many youth sports and educational programs, including the acclaimed Armory College Prep program, The Armory runs the leading collegiate indoor track meets with the Dr. Sander Invitational Columbia Challenge and the HBCU Showcase, and hosts the largest high school indoor track meets with the U. S. Air Force Hispanic Games, The New Balance Games, New Balance Nationals Indoor, the Energice Coaches Hall of Fame Invitational and Marine Corps Holiday Classic. New York Road Runners is a proud sponsor of all athletic events at The Armory. The Armory runs the Columbia & NewYork – Presbyterian Indoor Marathon Team Relay presented by New York Road Runners, which is the world’s largest indoor marathon relay. The Armory is also the home to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and dozens of very large education-focused events. For more: Please visit Armory.NYC and ArmoryTrack.com.
(Left) Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu en route to an American record in the women’s 800m this year at Prefontaine Classic, setting the current mark at 1:55.04; (Right) Ajee' Wilson following her American indoor record-setting performance in the Jack and Lewis Rudin Women’s 800m during the 113th Millrose Games. Photos by John Nepolitan