CNN Op-Ed: This is what it means to be an American

I've lived the American Dream -- a life as a citizen of these United States, nurtured by parents who provided me opportunity and the freedom and courage to dream beyond boundaries.

As a child, I rode my bike in my neighborhood and played until bedtime. My family ate dinner at the table together, camped and vacationed at Disney World. The values that make me an American were instilled in me during those formative years: love, equality and a strong work ethic.

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Marissa Kleber
KIRKUS REVIEW: PROUD

Muhammad, Olympic medalist for the U.S. fencing team, presents a memoir emphasizing the role of sports in her life.

Muhammad, a black, Muslim American who grew up in New Jersey, was raised by loving, supportive parents in a stable home. Her parents had many expectations of her and her siblings, one of which was that they would always participate in a sport. Some readers know the general story of how Muhammad finally picked and stayed with fencing—a sport in which she could wear the team uniform without compromising the modest attire required of her faith—but there are surprises in the details.

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Marissa Kleber
Wie, Muhammad, Stephens, and Longo on Achieving Their Dreams in Sports

As we venture into another year of competitions, Teen Vogue spoke with four female professional athletes who are breaking — and kicking, parrying, putting, and backhanding — the glass ceiling in sports, continuing the movements pioneers in their industry kickstarted. These women are the future of women’s sports, exhibiting as much inner strength as they do in a physical competition. Take, for example, 32-year-old Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad — who inspired Mattel to create the first hijab-wearing Barbie. And consider 18-year-old Becca Longo, the first female football kicker to earn a full-ride college scholarship for her sport. Groundbreaking? More like ground-shattering.

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Marissa Kleber
Nike launches its sports hijab in the US

The sport hijab has gone mainstream. Nike's "pro hijab" went on sale in the US Wednesday after rolling out in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa earlier in the month. 

Nike's campaign comes complete with pro female athletes like fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, boxer Zeina Nassar and runner Manal Roston. The athletes were among those involved in testing the hijab, the company said.

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Marissa Kleber
Olympic Fencer Reveals Her Favorite Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeliner

It was hard not to feel overcome with joy when fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad won a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. In case you aren’t familiar with her story: Muhammad became the first American woman to medal at the Olympic Games wearing a hijab. But she was also wearing something else that day that caught our attention: perfectly winged inky-black eyeliner. “I always wear it when I compete,” she says. “I believe women should wear and do what makes them feel best. If you feel great, you’ll conquer anything in your path.”

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Marissa Kleber
Open Letter: I Fear President Trump's 'Campaign of Terror' Against American Ideals

Dear President Trump,

Representing the United States in the Olympic Games was the greatest honor of my life. I will never forget walking into Opening Ceremonies behind our American flag that I revere surrounded by my teammates. Each drawn from different sports, many of different faiths and various ethnicities. Yet, in that diversity was America itself: united by love for our country...

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Marissa Kleber
Pop Sugar Feature: Pretty Unfiltered

While many groups feel scared and nervous to be who they are, Olympian and fashion designer Ibtihaj Muhammad explains why it's important now, more than ever, to be yourself. Ibtihaj made history at the Rio Olympics by being the first Muslim-American woman to sport a hijab during the games. "I realize that the sentiments of fear are very real; it's so palpable in the Muslim community, especially the women who literally wear their religion on their sleeves every day," she said. "At the same time, it's not just the verbal threats that come; it's reaching catastrophic numbers where people are being physically harmed. That has to come to an end. I've gotten messages, so many messages from young girls who have have had their hijabs taken from their heads. We have to acknowledge this is happening and that it is not acceptable."

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Marissa Kleber
Time: The 100 Most Influential People

Even as a kid, Ibtihaj Muhammad stood out. She was faster and stronger than her friends, and she was serious about her religion. Most of the sports she tried required physically revealing gear, in sharp contrast to the modesty her Muslim faith required. Then she discovered fencing. The sport let her express her athletic talent, and the uniform allowed her to stay true to her faith.

Today Ibtihaj is one of the best fencers in the world—and an observant Muslim woman...

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Marissa Kleber
A New Face for Team USA

n Aug. 5, more than 10,500 of the greatest athletes in the world will stream into Maracanã Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics...

BY SEAN GREGORY | PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL SHEA FOR TIME

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Marissa Kleber