100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Muna Lee, track

Muna Lee.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, May 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-30 09:00:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They don’t make 'em much faster in Kansas City than Muna Lee.

In fact, there’s never been a faster female athlete in Missouri high school history than Lee — who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, but moved to Kansas City, Missouri, as a young child and eventually graduated from Central High School.

Lee ran the 100-meter dash in 11.39 seconds to win the Foot Locker Nationals as a senior. It remains the state record more than two decades later, according to Mile Split MO.

She went on to LSU from there, winning seven NCAA championships, 12 SEC titles and earning All-American honors a staggering 20 times.

Lee competed in the 200-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Games, reaching the final and tying for seventh.

Four years later, Lee made the final in the 100 and 200 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and narrowly missed a medal in both events.

Lee finished fourth in the 200, a heartbreaking 0.01 seconds behind Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart for the bronze medal, and took fifth in the 100, finishing 0.09 seconds behind co-silver medalists Stewart and Sherone Simpson of Jamaica.

Beijing Olympics Athletics Womens 200m
Muna Lee of the United States reacts after a heat of the women's 200-meter during the athletics competitions in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008.

During the 2005 World Track and Field Championships, Lee won a gold medal with the 400-meter relay team.

She is a former college track and field coach, including a stint at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and now works as a coach at Top Tier Speed and Endurance in KCMO.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

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