Sydney McLaughlin made heads spin and jaws drops throughout the track and field world with an electrifying and breathtaking performance when the superstar from New Jersey demolished her own world record by running a mind-numbing 50.68 to win the 400-meter hurdles at the World Championships on Friday night at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
While some are calling it the best performance in track and field history, McLaughlin’s masterpiece should also be considered one of the greatest performances in any sport at any time!!
McLaughlin, a 2017 graduate of Union Catholic High School, simply dominated the greatest 400 hurdle field ever assembled, finishing well ahead of runner-up Femke Bol of the Netherlands, second in 52.27. Dalilah Muhammad of the U.S., the 2016 Olympic gold medal winner and the defending champion, was third in 53.13.
The race was hyped up as an epic showdown between McLaughlin, Muhammad, and Bol, the top three finishers (in that order) at the Olympics in Tokyo last summer, and the fastest three 400 hurdlers in world history. But McLaughlin made it a blowout by running much more aggressively on the backstretch than she usually does. By the time McLaughlin reached the 200 mark, the outcome was no longer in doubt, and it became a race against the clock as McLaughlin chased down history yet again!
McLaughlin, the gold medalist in the 400 hurdles at the Olympics in Tokyo last summer, broke the world record of 51.41 that she set at the U.S. National Championships last month at Hayward, and destroyed the World Championship meet record of 52.16 set in 2019 by Muhammad when she edged McLaughlin.
McLaughlin, who will turn 23 on Aug. 7 and should be in the U.S. lineup in Sunday’s 4×400 relay final, has now lowered the world record four times in the past 13 months!!!!
She became the first woman to ever break 52 seconds in the 400 hurdles when she ran 51.90 at the Olympic Trials in June of 2021. She lowered it to 51.46 at the Olympics in Tokyo, and last month dropped it again to 51.46 at the U.S. National Championships. And now McLaughlin is the first woman to ever break 51 seconds!!!
McLaughlin’s astonishing time of 50.68 would have placed her seventh in the flat 400 at the World Championships, and would be the 19th fastest time in the world this year in the open 400!!! How crazy is that
When McLaughlin came charging across the line, the huge crowd erupted in jubilation and stunned disbelief. After she saw her time, McLaughlin sat on the track for several moments, soaking it in all in.
It’s reached the point with McLaughlin that nothing she does should surprise anyone anymore! There just isn’t anyone close to her level now or ever in the 400 hurdles.
It begs the question: Is McLaughlin the most dominant and the greatest athlete in the world right now?
A strong case can be made that she is!