In one of the most anticipated races going into the World Athletics Championships, Sydney McLaughlin delivered in front of the home crowd. The 22-year-old hurdler ran a jaw-dropping 50.68 seconds to win her first world championship title and beat her previous record of 51.41 by almost a full second.
McLaughlin quickly got out of the blocks and found herself with a 10- to 20-metre lead at 200m. The crowd at Hayward Field roared as she sprinted down the home straight to become the first woman to break the 51-second barrier in the 400m hurdles.
“It’s surreal. I am so grateful,” McLaughlin said in a post-race interview on the track.
Femke Bol of the Netherlands finished a second and a half behind McLaughlin to take the silver in a season’s best 52.27. Bol’s time was the 11th fastest 400mH performance ever recorded, which puts McLaughlin’s performance in perspective. Dalilah Muhammed, the 2019 world champion, won bronze in a season’s best 53.13.
McLaughlin bettered her previous world record by 0.73 seconds, which is the second best improvement ever recorded in the event. In 1977, when the 400mH was still in its infancy, Tatyana Storozheva of the Soviet Union bettered the record by 0.77 seconds.
After the medals ceremony, the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, presented McLaughlin with a check for $100,000—the bonus for anyone who sets a world record here in Eugene.
Her previous world record of 51.41 was set a month ago at the U.S. trials, on the same track. McLaughlin’s time will now go in the history books as one of the greatest performances by a U.S. track and field athlete.
The 2022 World Athletics Championships are taking place from July 15-25 from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. All the action will be brought to you by Canadian Running and Asics Canada. Follow us on Twitter on Instagram for all things Team Canada and up-to-date exclusive news and content.