Ibtihaj Muhammad: I felt like a social ‘pariah’ after making Team USA

Source: The Lily

The following is an excerpt from “Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream,” by United States Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad. Muhammad is an American fencer who rose to fame during the 2016 Summer Olympics, where she became the first U.S. Olympian to compete, and win a medal, while wearing hijab.

 

I put a lot of effort into being a great teammate. I tried to keep a smile on my face all the time. When we were on the road, I tried to initiate team dinners and arrange group outings when we landed in a new country or city for a competition. I held my tongue in times of dispute. I would compliment my teammates to show them I appreciated their skill and expertise on the strip.

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I barely recognized myself as I tried to assimilate into the team. I went above and beyond to show them my best self. But my efforts to extend the olive branch of friendship were rarely, if ever, reciprocated. My dinner invitations were often turned down, as were my invitations for movie nights in our hotel rooms or sightseeing when we arrived in a new city.

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