Sydney McLaughlin is now familiar with world records, but after this fabulous time over the 400 meter hurdles at the World Championships in Athletics, the American also seemed stunned. While the spectators raged at Hayward Field Stadium, the 22-year-old just sat on the track for a long time.
For the fourth time in the past 13 months, she had surpassed the best time over the stadium loop with obstacles and on Friday evening (local time) in Eugene was the first woman in the world to go under the 51-second mark: she needed 50.68 seconds and undercut her first a month ago at the US Championships by an incredible 0.73 seconds.
“It’s unreal,” McLaughlin said over the stadium microphone after the first world record of this World Cup in the USA.
Even her medal, which will be handed out in Eugene immediately after the decision so that the winners can have it with them to celebrate with families, friends and fans, someone had to put it on her while she was still sitting. “I just wanted to make it.
The last 100 meters really hurt,” she reported. Even before the home stretch it was obvious that she was only running against the clock and no longer against her competitors.
Silver went to Femke Bol of the Netherlands in 52.27 seconds. There has never been a greater gap between World Championship gold and World Championship silver – 1.59 seconds – on this route. “She was so far ahead that I had doubts if it was really a good race, although it felt good,” said Bol.
Dalilah Muhammad of the USA took bronze with 53.13 seconds. The Rio Olympic champion broke Russia’s Julia Pechonkina’s 16-year record in 2019 and has since broken the 52-second barrier once – but McLaughlin broke that mark three times in the past two months alone.
What was once an exciting duel between two world-class athletes is now a no-brainer for McLaughlin. She has now set five of the six best times ever recorded in the 400m hurdles, pushing all the apparent limits of her discipline.