WASHINGTON: Reigning Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin ended day three of the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships sensationally as she broke her own 400m hurdles world record on Saturday. McLaughlin does not race often, but she produces memorable performances whenever she does step on the track.
Running a sizzling world record of 51.41 in the women's 400m hurdles on a hot afternoon at the US Championships, McLaughlin has now set world records in three of her past four 400m hurdles finals. Clearing the hurdles effortlessly and with no one pressing her, McLaughlin broke her own record of 51.46 from the Tokyo Olympics, where she captured the gold medal.
McLaughlin set her first world record of 51.90 on this same track, Hayward Field in Eugene, during last summer's US Olympic Trials and will return here next month for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. "I knew it was going to be fast," McLaughlin said after the race. "I looked at the time and I was really happy with it - being able to slowly progress towards lower and lower times - and I think there's still things I could work on. I think there's a little bit more in the tank there, so hopefully when it's time we can just empty it completely."
Before the three rounds of the US Championships, McLaughlin had run only twice this season: one 100m hurdles race and one 400m hurdles race, in which she clocked a world-leading 51.61 with one of the hurdles placed in the wrong position. She then withdrew from the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in New York two weeks ago to focus on the National Championships.
McLaughlin had a lead of about six metres entering the home straight and that margin had grown significantly by the time she reached the finish. NCAA champion Britton Wilson ran a PB of 53.08 for second and Shamier Little, the 2015 world silver medallist who missed the US Olympic team last year by one spot, was third with a season's best of 53.92. McLaughlin was the world silver medallist in 2019 behind former world record-holder Dalilah Muhammad, who has a wildcard entry to the World Championships as defending champion and did not compete at the US Championships. They will likely face off next month.
Later, Michael Norman posted a world-leading time of 43.56 to win the men's 400m, besting his own 43.60 from the Prefontaine Classic in May on the same track. He now owns the three fastest times at Hayward Field, having also run 43.61 in 2018.