Athletics: US sprinter McLaughlin wins 400m hurdles Olympic gold, sets new World record

McLaughlin came from behind after the last hurdle to top the defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad

AP , Wednesday 4 Aug 2021
Sydney McLaughlin
Sydney McLaughlin, of the United States, wins the women s 400-meter hurdles final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. AP

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Sydney McLaughlin broke her world record Wednesday and won the Olympic 400-meter hurdles gold, finishing in 51.46 seconds in yet another close victory over U.S. teamate Dalilah Muhammad.

McLaughlin came from behind after the last hurdle to top the defending Olympic champion. Muhammad's time  of 51.58 also beat McLaughlin's old record of 51.9, set at Olympic trials last month.

Femke Bol of the Netherlands finished third.

For McLaughlin, it was a muted celebration. She sat on the ground, gave a serious look toward the scoreboard, got up and sanitized her hands, then accepted a congratulatory hug from Muhammad.

Amazing as it was, this world record didn't really surprise anyone.

McLaughlin and Muhammad have been trading the record, and the wins, for two years. Muhammad first broke the mark at U.S. Nationals in 2019, then lowered it again. to 52.16, at the world championships in Doha.

McLaughlin broke that record earlier this summer at Olympic trials, running her 51.90 to become the first woman to crack 52 seconds.

It felt inevitable that the mark would go down again on a fast track in perfect, hot-and-humid running conditions in Tokyo.

The day before, Karsten Warholm crushed his old world record, finishing the men’s race in 45.94, and runner-up Rai Benjamin’s 46.17 also beat the old mark.

It was a lot to live up to for the women, whose race was even more eagerly anticipated. They lived up to the hype.

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