By Evan Triantafilidis
Two Olympic gold medalists who call Queens home added some new hardware to their trophy cases on Friday.
Borough President Donovan Richards presented Dalilah Muhammad and Tina Charles with keys to the borough and proclamations declaring October 1, 2021, as a day named for both Olympic athletes.
“These are two daughters of Queens that have made us so proud this summer and over the course of their careers,” said Richards.
“We should recognize that their true greatness doesn’t come from their jumpshot or how fast they can run,” he added. “Their greatness lies in how they got to where they are today, and what they’re doing to help our young people get there tomorrow.”
In front of Borough Hall, student-athletes celebrated the careers of Muhammad, the first American woman to win a gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles, and Charles, an eight-time WNBA All-Star.
Muhammad, a native of Rochdale Village and a former member of the New York Novas youth running club, broke a 16-year-old world record in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2019 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She would follow that performance up with breaking her own record at the 2019 World Championships later that year.
From running as a kid at Roy Wilkins Park to winning a Silver Medal in 2021 in the hurdles and a Gold Medal in the 4×400 relays, Muhammad was celebrated for her continued inspiration to her community.
“I’m so honored to be receiving this proclamation and to be celebrated by my community,” said Muhammad, a graduate from Bayside’s Benjamin Cardozo High School. “I remember growing up as a little girl in Queens with a dream. I worked really hard to get there and I didn’t stop.”
Charles, the East Elmhurst native and Christ the King High School graduate, helped lead Team USA to its seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal this summer in Tokyo.
Her off-the-court work includes funding a school in the West African nation of Mali and founding Hopey’s Heart Foundation, which distributes external defibrillators to schools.
Speaking to student-athletes from Christ the King and Cardozo, Charles stressed the importance of a quality education that helped her in her career.
“My roots are everything, being born and raised in Queens,” she said “What means more to me is you all, the youth, can see us up here and I hope you guys one day aspire to be up here too.”
Councilwoman Adrienne Adams and Richards also honored the 2021 Junior Olympians from the Metro Eagles youth track and field team with certificates. Adams called the athletes role models for the entire borough.
“These are the very same communities that our Olympians and their families call home today,” said Adams. “That’s why we’re bursting with pride when we see Dalilah and Tina compete and thrive on the national and international stage.
“To know these two incredible women grew up in southeast Queens, went to school in this borough, practiced and competed against their peers right here, I can’t help but feel tremendous joy and admiration,” she added. “These two young women are truly the Queens of Queens.”