WATCH: Sydney McLaughlin on her World-Record 400m Hurdles run
Late last night, former Kentucky track star Sydney McLaughlin not only punched her ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, she became the first woman to EVER run the 400-meter hurdles in under 52 seconds. McLaughlin’s time of 51.90 seconds shattered the previous record of 52.16 seconds, set by defending Olympic and world champion Dalilah Muhammad, who was in an adjacent lane. Muhammad set that record in the 2019 World Championships, beating McLaughlin out by 0.07 seconds. Despite the rivalry, Muhammad was the first to embrace McLaughlin after last night’s stunning performance.
“She definitely pushes me,” Muhammad said of McLaughlin during their on-track interview. “Congratulations, you world-record holder. It’s going to be a battle in Tokyo for sure.”
“Iron sharpens iron,” McLaughlin later told reporters. “People can call it whatever they want to call it. It’s two great athletes pushing each other to be better. There’s no animosity. There’s no hard feelings. It’s just two people trying to be their best. We wouldn’t be able to have these world records go back and forth without one another.”
Rivalry aside, the night belonged to McLaughlin, whose record-setting run came well after midnight Eastern Time due to a four-hour heat delay. This will be her second Olympics following the Rio games in 2016. Battling a cold, she finished fifth in her semifinal heat in Rio, just nine days after her 17th birthday. Now 21, she heads to Tokyo as one of Team USA’s biggest stars, a journey a lifetime in the making.
“It’s one of those moments that you dream about, and you think about, and replay in your head,” McLaughlin said. “When you’re going to be able to put it together. I knew from the moment I woke up today that it was gonna be a great day. I think just trusting that process – it was just the final ‘I did it’ moment, and I’m gonna cherish it for the rest of my life.”
Go, Syd, go! Check out her interviews and more photos below.