Sydney McLaughlin produced one of the greatest track performances of all time on Friday by shattering her own 400 meters hurdles world record to win World Championships gold.
The 22-year-old obliterated the field in setting the first world record for these championships. More impressively, it marked the fourth straight major race in which she’s bettered the mark.
“It’s unreal,” McLaughlin said in the post-race interview on the track.
Femke Bol of the Netherlands finished second in 52.27 — that’s a 1.59-second difference — and defending world champion Dalilah Muhammad finished third in 53.13 — a time that would’ve won the race going away a mere seven years ago.
McLaughlin finished well clear of the Netherlands’ Femke Bol (52.27) and U.S. compatriot Dalilah Muhammad (53.13).
“We knew warming up that it was going to be one of those days,” McLaughlin said after winning her first individual World Championships title.
“I knew coming home that if I just kept my cadence and stayed on stride pattern, we could do it and it happened.”
It was the sixth time in three years that the world record has been broken, after Russian Yulia Pechonkina’s mark had stood for 16 years.
“The level in the 400m hurdles is certainly improving,” said McLaughlin. “We have a full group of girls that are willing to push our bodies to the next level and we are seeing times drop. It’s really an exciting time to be in the event.”
Bol, who took bronze in Tokyo, said McLaughlin’s dominance made her question her own performance.
“She was so far in front at the end so I was always doubting if I really had a good race because it felt very good. And then I saw the sign and I was like: Wow,” she said.
“This is just amazing and it means a lot that she also broke the 51s barrier.”
Much of the hype heading into the final had focused on McLaughlin’s rivalry with 2019 champion Muhammad but the 32-year-old was left disappointed after coming back from a mild hamstring injury earlier this year. Read full story
“I’m having mixed emotions to be honest,” she told reporters.
“I’m proud of the way we had this moment. I definitely want to keep this season going. I knew that at this race I wasn’t quite at my best but I was hoping for the best.”
McLaughlin’s accomplishment sent shockwaves through the athletics world.
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