Here's Why It Would Be an Honor to Have Ibtihaj Muhammad as Team USA's Olympic Flag Bearer
With just a few days left until the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, we have finally found out who is going to be the flag bearer for Team USA during the Opening Ceremony: Michael Phelps.
Though his 18 Olympic gold medals make him worthy of this honor, TIME's Sean Gregory believes that Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer who is defying labels as the first U.S. athlete to compete in a hijab, would have been an equally worthy candidate.
Here are some reasons why Gregory believes Ibtihaj Muhammad would have made an amazing flag bearer:
1. She "represents the best of the nation"
Gregory points out that Muhammad is "the daughter of a teacher and a police officer raised in Maplewood, N.J... She became an All-American in the sport [fencing] at Duke, where she graduated with degrees in International Relations and African and African-American Studies."
2. She's an entrepreneur
Muhammad founded Louella, a fashion label focused on making a wider range of clothing options available for Muslim women.
3. She's not "afraid to speak in defense of her beliefs"
"When you incite hateful speech and rhetoric... The people who say it never think about the repercussions and how that affects Muslims. Specifically Muslim women who wear their religion every single day. So then you start to think, Am I going to be safe?” Muhammad stated in response to Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
4. She epitomizes "what America stands for"
Despite what the media may say, hatred and violence are not representative of our nation. Gregory believes that having Muhammad as our country's flag bearer would symbolize this.
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson