Maria Mutola was born in Maputo, Mozambique, in October 27th 1972. At 15 she competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and in 1993 she became the 800m World Champion in Stuttgart. Three years later, Mutola won the 800m bronze medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics – this was the first Olympic medal for Mozambique.
In 2000 she competed in Olympic Games for the fourth time (Sydney, Australia) and won Mozambique's first ever Olympic gold medal. In 2001, she won the 800m Women event at the World Championships in Edmonton.