Sydney McLaughlin roared back after the final set of hurdles to win 400m hurdles gold Wednesday in Tokyo, breaking her own world record from U.S. Trials in 51.46 to dethrone teammate and former world record-holder Dalilah Muhammad as the Olympic champion.
Muhammad, the reigning world champion, hung on for silver in a personal-best 51.58.
Rising star Femke Bol of the Netherlands, already fourth-fastest of all time, captured bronze in 52.03.
After finishing second to a pair of Muhammad’s world record-breaking races at the 2019 U.S. Championships and World Championships, McLaughlin finally answered back at U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021 with one of her own in 51.90, becoming the first 400m hurdler to go sub-52.
She made her Olympic debut as a 17-year-old prodigy at the 2016 Rio Games, becoming the youngest U.S. track and field Olympian in 44 years, but had an early exit in the semis.
After finishing high school, she attended the University of Kentucky then turned pro.
Under first coach Joanna Hayes, the 2004 Olympic 100m hurdles champion, she won silver medal at the 2019 World Championships behind Muhammad.
But near the start of this year she announced she’d changed coaches to Bobby Kersee, husband of six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and longtime coach of Allyson Felix.
After a 2021 season with several high-hurdle races, presumably chosen by Kersee to increase McLaughlin’s speed, she didn’t run her first 400m hurdles race until early June.
Men’s event gold medalist, Norwegian Karsten Warholm, also shattered his own world record Tuesday, clocking a 45.94 to win a final in which nearly the entire field set personal bests.
Both McLaughlin and Muhammad could be chosen to compete on the U.S. women’s 4x400m relay team.