Once more, Sydney McLaughlin succeeded. The 22-year-old smashed the 400m hurdles world record for the fourth time in her incredible career on Friday at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, destroying her previous mark with a pace of 50.68.
She remarked, “It’s unbelievable,” as the Hayward Field audience gasped in admiration. “I just wanted to take off and run”
She undoubtedly took a chance. She won her first world title in the competition by more than one and a half seconds by cutting 0.73 off her previous world record, which she had achieved on the same track less than a month earlier. She also outran two of the three fastest hurdlers in history.
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Femke Bol, who won bronze at the Olympics for the Netherlands and is ranked No. 3 all-time, crossed the finish line just behind her in 52.27, matching her season’s best, while Dalilah Muhammad, a former world record holder for the USA and ranked No. 2 all-time, ran 53.13 to take the bronze.
McLaughlin has accomplished this feat three times at Hayward Field. Her first came in the 2021 US Olympic Trials, as she ran a time of 51.90 to beat Muhammad’s previous record of 52.16 set when she defeated her countrywoman to win the 2019 world title.
Just over a month later, McLaughlin ran 51.46 to win the Olympic gold in Tokyo, then on June 25 of this year, at the US Championships in Eugene, she broke the record a third time by running 51.41.
Given the criterion, McLaughlin would rank 19th for the 400m flat this season with her most recent world record time. Despite several obstacles in his path, the US hurdles champion succeeded.
She surpassed the first of those obstacles around the same time as Muhammad did, and they were about equally matched when it came to the second one. But after that, it seemed as though the race would only go in one direction.
McLaughlin caught her fellow countrywoman in the back straight and sped past her as she approached the curve, with Muhammad on her right and Bol to her left. By the time McLaughlin rounded the turn, she was up against the clock, and as she drew nearer, it appeared as though time had stopped.
As they neared the home straight, Bol caught up to Muhammad in her wake before passing him. McLaughlin could be seen walking off in the distance.
McLaughlin was going to shatter the record, but the real question was by how much. The crowd rose to their feet as the scoreboard displayed 50.68, prompting the response.
The world record has been lowered by nearly two seconds since 2019—a period of fewer than three years. Muhammad lowered the previous record of 52.34, which had been held for 16 years, to 52.20 and then 52.16. On June 27, 2021, McLaughlin took the throne.
The 52.34-second former world record is now only ranked 14th all-time.
McLaughlin praised her most recent effort, saying, “The time is just great and the sport is growing quicker and faster.” Just determining what barriers can be overcome. From here, I just get faster.
“I completed the race as instructed by Bobby (Kersee, her coach). Coming home, I was certain that we could accomplish our goal if we just maintained our stride pattern and tempo.
“The standard in the 400-meter hurdles is undoubtedly rising. We have a large group of girls that are ready to challenge our bodies, and the times are getting faster.
The women’s world record program in Oregon is being supported by World Athletics as part of its International Women’s Day #WeGrowAthletics pledge, and McLaughlin received a US$100,000 check along with her gold medal as a result. This is in keeping with World Athletics’ commitment to further advance gender equality in the sport.
Bol finished strongly to take home silver, and the 22-year-old was happy to surpass her Olympic medal.
Sydney is just really powerful, I ran against the greatest in the world,” she claimed. “She was so far ahead at the finish, so I was never sure if I actually had a strong race, even though it felt great. Then I noticed the time and thought, “Wow.” Being a part of it and finishing second in a race like that is wonderful.
With the bronze in 2022, Muhammad has now earned all four medals in the 400-meter hurdles event at the world championships: gold in 2019, silver in 2013, and bronze in 2017.
I’ll be honest, I’m feeling conflicted,” she admitted. “It’s wonderful to receive a medal, but I entered these competitions knowing that, despite any injuries, I had always won a medal competition. But as a rival, you constantly crave more.
US athletes occupied four of the top five slots, with Britton Wilson coming in fifth (54.02) and 2015 world silver medalist Shamier Little finishing fourth (53.76).
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