Coldplay Sharpens Fencer's Game

World class fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad talks about the music that keeps her sharp for competition for Tell Me More's series, "In Your Ear." Muhammad and the rest of the U.S. women's team recently won gold at the Korfanty Sabre World Cup competition.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for the occasional feature we call In Your Ear. That's where some of our guests tell us the songs they listen to when they need a little inspiration.

Today, we get the personal playlist of world-class fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. We caught up with her earlier this year when she was training for the Olympic trials. She fell a little short of her Olympic dreams, but she and other members of the U.S. Women's Saber Team recently won gold at the Korfanty Saber World Cup competition.

Here's what's playing in her ear.

IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD: Hi. My name is Ibtihaj Muhammad, and this is what's playing in my ear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIX YOU")

COLDPLAY: (Singing) When you try your best, but you don't succeed, when you get what you want, but not what you need, when you feel so tired, but you can't sleep, stuck in reverse.

MUHAMMAD: I like Coldplay "Fix You" because right before I go out, you know, to compete, I feel really anxious and nervous, and it just helps me relax. And I guess it's more of how mellow Coldplay can be.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIX YOU")

COLDPLAY: (Singing) ...so thin, you can't replace. When you love someone, but it goes to waste, could it be worth...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOPE")

PETE ROCK: (Singing) Mention me to all society, world elite, to land on concrete...

MUHAMMAD: There's a song that I have liked for a few years. It's called "Hope" by Pete Rock.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOPE")

ROCK: (Singing) I hope the world don't stop before my (unintelligible) free your mind. I hope the world don't stop before my (unintelligible).

MUHAMMAD: Even the title speaks for itself. The whole premise of the song is different scenarios about hope and, I don't know. It just makes me think about my life, in a way, and the song is just a really good song. You should listen to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOPE")

ROCK: (Singing) (unintelligible). I want to get off, revolve on an axis, attack this. I see static where it used to be clear, two years. Bring ideas on how to get a slice of the dream (unintelligible) in the big scheme. Million dollar capers, stars from the skyscrapers (unintelligible), resistance. Overcome (unintelligible)...

MARTIN: That was Ibtihaj Muhammad, telling us what's playing in her ear. To hear my earlier conversation with her, please go to npr.org and click on the Program tab for TELL ME MORE.

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