Sydney McLaughlin loves to break records; it doesn’t matter if it is of her own or someone else’s. Till now, she has broken three world records - one of Dalilah Muhammad’s and two of her own. At 22, she owns four of the top five 400m hurdles times in history, which unequivocally sets her up in the pantheon of all-time greats. She will now be looking for a World Championships gold, a medal that is still missing from her cabinet.
The 400m women’s hurdles final at last year’s Tokyo Olympics was a breathtaking sight. McLaughlin outraced reigning world champion Dalilah in a race that saw her cut off 0.44 seconds from her previous world record, 51.90s, as silver and bronze medallist Dalilah and Femke Bol set their new personal best.
After that spectacular run in Tokyo, the American athlete set a new record again, taking off 0.5s to set the new world record at 51.41s at the USATF Championships last month. With this stunning feat, she has made herself an outright favourite for the World Championships title in Oregon.
Sobriqueted “Syd the Kid” in the Rio Olympics, the New Jersey hurdler perhaps reaps the benefits of being raised in a family of athletes. Following the path of her father Willie, a semifinalist at the 1984 US Olympic trials, and mother, Mary, a college-level sprinter, McLaughlin took up hurdling at 14.
A gifted child, she rose through the junior ranks before becoming an Olympian at 16 in Rio, where she made a fifth-place finish. In another four years, she moulded herself as a record-smasher and became an Olympic gold medallist in Tokyo.
As the fastest woman of the season, McLaughlin, who lost to Dalilah in the 2019 World Championships, will spare no effort to add the Worlds feather to her cap.