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Again, McLaughlin Breaks her World Record in the 400 Hurdles

By: Alice Su

Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin just broke her world record in the 400m hurdle for the fourth time in two years, running a 50.68. Her rivals are simply in the background as she demolishes the world record again and again. It seems her only competitor is the clock. When will McLaughlin break her record next?

McLaughlin does have serious competitors. Graceful Dalilah Muhummad is one, and she came in third with a 53.13, despite injuries disrupting her training.

“I was kind of nervous, honestly, going into this meet, not knowing where my fitness level would be,” said the 32 year old (previous) world record holder and Olympic champion.“So to get a medal shows my resilience as an athlete.”

Femke Bol of the Netherlands came in second with a time of 52.27. The 22 year old won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and owns the seventh fastest time in history, the only two above her being Muhummad and McLaughlin. Perhaps Bol will be McLaughlin’s closest rival in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

But there is still a distinct gap between McLaughlin and her competitors. It lies in the final stretch. “I would definitely say it’s a flow state, where you’re putting everything that you’ve done in practice into the race to the point where you’re just letting your body do what it does,” she said. Indeed, there wasn’t a soul close to her as McLaughlin bounded down the home-stretch.

Her time was faster than two un-hurdled women who advanced into finals. And she cut 0.75 seconds from a record she’d set only 27 days earlier. But, McLaughlin believes that she can do better. “I think we’re all figuring out that, yes, there are 10 barriers, but we can run them a lot faster than people think,” she said, adding, “I still think that wasn’t even a super clean race.”

As for future plans, McLaughlin stated that she would discuss options with Bobby Kersee, her coach. It is certain that there will be more records and wins to pursue, but McLaughlin will continue to push the limits of reality on the track.

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