Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad reveals why acceptance from her teammates was her biggest challenge

Team USA Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is a game changer. She's most known for being the first U.S. athlete to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab, as well as being the first Muslim American to medal (she won a bronze medal in Rio in 2016). She joined "Salon Talks" to discuss the journey behind her victories, also the subject of her new memoir, "Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream," available now. "When we see the Olympics, we get this really brief look into the athlete's life and I wanted to tell something that lended a lens into my journey as a minority member of Team USA and the struggles and triumphs that came along the way," Muhammad told Salon's Rachel Leah. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever done — it's not just qualifying for the games and winning a medal, but it's this really arduous journey in trying to navigate spaces where you're not welcome."

Muhammad’s journey was, at times very lonely, she says, because there weren't many peers with similar experiences or role models. Those experiences inspired her activism today and her goal to change the way the world views and understands black female athletes and Muslim women. Watch the interview above to hear Muhammad’s take on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem and hear about her rise to Olympic victory.

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