When the Rio Olympics roll around on August 5, Team USA will have chosen a flag bearer and it looks like a very likely candidate is Muslim-American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. She will also make history as the first American Olympian to compete in a hijab.
So, exactly who is Ibtihaj Muhammad? The Jersey girl who started fencing when she was in the eighth grade went on to become all-American at Duke and eventually made her way to the Olympics.
Check out these five things you should know about this Olympian.
1. She’s a fashionista.
When she’s not fencing and training for the Olympics, Ibtihaj Muhammad is an entrepreneur. The athlete founded the modest-fashion label Louella. The line offers Muslim women a variety of fashionable clothing and plenty of pieces at affordable prices.
2. She chose to fence because it allowed her to stay true to her religion.
Muhammad took up fencing because it was a sport in which the uniform allowed her to be fully covered, a factor her parents took into consideration when searching for an extracurricular activity for their daughter. The design of the uniform made her finally feel like part of the team.
She told CBS News, "It was the first time I was in uniform with everyone else and I didn't have to adjust it in any way by, like adding length to the sleeves or wearing pants when everyone else had on shorts."
3. Ibtihaj Muhammad is a proud American.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the United States, the saber fencer understands that she has been given a platform to change public opinion about Muslims.
She once told reporters, "For anyone to challenge that idea that I'm not American or that I don't belong, it's frustrating. I want people to see a Muslim woman in hijab represent the United States this summer."
4. She missed out on the 2012 Olympics because of an injury.
Muhammad was attempting to qualify for the 2012 Olympics when she tore a ligament in her hand months before the London Games. Despite her detour four years ago, Ibtihaj Muhammad is more than ready to compete in the 2016 Rio Games.
Only one U.S. athlete will have the honor of carrying the flag into Maracana Stadium during Opening Ceremonies. The Rio Olympics kick off on August 5, at 7 p.m. on NBC.