She Did That! Ibtihaj Muhammad

At the 2016 Rio games, the bronze medal fencer became the first American woman to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab.

Trailblazing Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad made history at the 2016 Rio games as the first American woman to compete at the Olympics wearing a hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women. The New Jersey native discovered the sport at 12 years old. Her mother thought fencing was a perfect fit for a Muslim girl because their religion requires females to dress modestly. Even though there were obstacles Muhammad won a bronze medal in fencing.

After watching her compete her brother Qareeb, told the Associated Press. “Despite the adversity she’s faced; being a Muslim, being an African American, being a female, she’s still confident in her ability to be successful. She’s my hero.”

RELATED: Watch: Here's How American Muslim Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Made Olympic History Today

In 2016, Time named Muhammad to its list of the 100 Most Influential People, and President Barack Obama chose her to serve on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Muhammad used her platform to push back against President Donald Trump's anti-Islamic rhetoric. In her memoir, Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream, Muhammad documents death threats against her and the alienation she felt on the U.S. Olympic team.

Through her clothing company, Louella by Ibtihaj, Muhammad offers a fashionable spin on modest women's apparel. Toymaker Mattel noticed she’s a woman who did that and released its first hijab-wearing Barbie in 2018, modeled on Muhammad's likeness.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

Select the types of notification you would like to receive from us. Please note, you must choose at least one.

By clicking subscribe, I consent to receiving newsletters and other marketing emails. Newsletters are subject to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Users can unsubscribe at any time.