Sydney McLaughlin broke the 400m hurdles world record for the fourth time in the past 13 months and completed her trophy case with her first world title gold in 50.68 seconds.
She broke her previous record of 51.14 a month ago.
“We thought we could go a little bit faster [than 50.68],” she told NBC Sports’ Louise Johnson. “But we are very grateful for that time. Anything under 51 was a win for us.
As of June 2021, she brought the world record from 52.16 to 50.68. That’s nine-tenths of a second behind the second-fastest woman in history, countrywoman Dalilah Muhammad, who won bronze behind Dutchwoman Femke Bol on Friday in Eugene, Oregon.
McLaughlin, 22, became the second-youngest track and field athlete in history to win the three biggest awards in an individual event – Olympic gold, a world title and a world record. Only Ethiopian distance runner Kenenisa Bekele captured all three at a young age.
McLaughlin replaced Usain Bolt as the second youngest person to complete the triple in a matter of days.
McLaughlin also accomplished the feat of breaking Edwin Moses’ 400m hurdles world record four times during his career, although it took Moses seven years to do so.
What’s next for McLaughlin? The US should probably qualify for Sunday’s women’s 4x400m relay final if she wants to race one more time.
Then, perhaps, a switch to a flat 400m. McLaughlin’s legendary coach, Bob Kersey, said she will eventually return to the program and chase that (37-year-old) world record, perhaps after this season, NBC sports analyst Otto Bolden reported last month.
“Bobby and I are going to go back after the season, decide if this [400m hurdles] is another event I want to do, or if we want to find something else because I think we’ve accomplished a lot. That,” McLaughlin said. “It could be [a flat 400m]. Everything is possible. Bobby will let me know. I obey what he says.”
Earlier Friday, Michael Norman became the first American man since LaShawn Merritt in 2013 to win a world title in the 400 meters. Norman, the world’s fastest 400m runner, won his first individual world medal last Olympic cycle in Tokyo. It is the first time since 2007 that U.S. men have won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the Olympics or World Championships.
Shauna Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas clocked 49.11 between her two Olympic gold medals in the 400 meters, adding .49 to Olympic silver medalist Marilady Paulino of the Dominican Republic for her first world title. No Americans made the finals.
Cara Winger extended a historic visit for US women’s throwers, becoming the first American to win a world championship medal in the women’s javelin. The 36-year-old winger, who plans to retire after this season, moved from fifth to second on her sixth and final throw. More on women’s javelin at On Her Turf.
U.S. Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu qualified Sunday’s 800m final. All of her top challengers, including Olympic silver medalist Kelly Hodgkinson of Great Britain and two Americans: Olympic bronze medalist Ravin Rogers and two-time world bronze medalist Ajay Wilson, exited in the semifinals.
Both the US men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relays reached the finals on Saturday. The men are favorites despite 100m gold medalist Fred Kerley not injured. Jamaican women are underdogs to win a medal in the 100m.