Olympic Track and Field 2021: Sydney McLaughlin Sets World Record, Wins 400m Hurdles

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 4, 2021

USA's Sydney Mclaughlin wins the women's 400m hurdles final setting a new world record during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 4, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Sydney McLaughlin is a gold medalist and world-record holder in one of the most highly anticipated track and field events of the entire Tokyo Olympics.

McLaughlin won the women's 400-meter hurdles race on Tuesday (Wednesday in Japan) with a blistering time of 51.46 seconds. She was joined by Dalilah Muhammad (silver) and Femke Bol (bronze) on the podium, who checked in at 51.58 seconds and 52.03 seconds, respectively.

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HER GOLDEN MOMENT!<a href="https://twitter.com/GoSydGo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GoSydGo</a> takes the gold in world record fashion in the women's 400m hurdles final! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamUSA</a> <br><br>๐Ÿ“บ: NBC<br>๐Ÿ’ป: <a href="https://t.co/xHOJq5UwlD">https://t.co/xHOJq5UwlD</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ: NBC Sports App <a href="https://t.co/xFGFzaW6Gu">pic.twitter.com/xFGFzaW6Gu</a>

Both McLaughlin and Muhammad finished under the previous world record, but the champion turned in an incredible finishing kick to capture gold.

There was no shortage of star power in this race thanks to the pair, and the fact that the men's version of the event thrilled when Norway's Karsten Warholm outlasted the United States' Rai Benjamin to set the world record at 45.94 seconds only increased the anticipation.

Another showdown was expected in this one, only this time between two Americans.

Muhammad was the defending Olympic gold medalist from the 2016 Rio Games, and Shalise Manza Young of Yahoo Sports noted she had the chance to become the first woman to capture two gold medals in the 400-meter hurdles.

However, she was still something of an underdog thanks to the presence of American teammate McLaughlin.

McLaughlin paced the semifinals at 53.03 and entered the Olympics as the world-record holder at 51.90 seconds, which she set at the U.S. trials. Throw in Anna Cockrell, who won NCAA titles in the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles, and the United States was well represented in the final.

In fact, a world record was set the previous three times McLaughlin and Muhammad faced each other, per Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today.

"Anything's possible," McLaughlin said of the chance of it happening again with a gold medal on the line, per Reyes. "It's a really great group of girls, so I wouldn't put it past anybody to go out and do it."

It was only fitting, then, that there was another world record as McLaughlin dazzled in a loaded field to take home the gold.