Games & medals
Rio de Janeiro 2016
|#5 h1 r2/3||Athletics||400 metres Hurdles|
Sydney MCLAUGHLIN biography
McLaughlin was perhaps born to be an athlete. Her dad, Willie, was a semi finalist in the 400m at the 1984 Olympic trails, while her mum was also a runner and her brother got silver at the 400m hurdles at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships. But Sydney has outdone them all: she won the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in the 400m hurdles, and she holds a number of age group records.
She ran at Rio 2016 at the age of just 16, having qualified third in the US national trials – and eventually finished 16th overall, being eliminated in the semi finals. But it was her age that caught the headlines: McLaughlin was the youngest athlete to qualify for the USA track team since 1980.
She wasn’t expected to medal at such a young age, but athletics fans clearly saw a star in the making, and McLaughlin’s performance at the World Championships in Doha confirmed them. McLaughlin turns 21 two days before the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Might she emerge as one of its brightest stars?
“For me it’s kind of just focusing on myself and making sure I’m doing everything possible to be successful,” she says. She wasn’t always so committed to winning, she says. Her dad Willie used to bribe her to run with confectionary. “He said, ‘If you run, I’ll give you a chocolate bar.’ I ran the 100 meters and actually won,” says McLaughlin. “I think I was more excited about the chocolate bar than the fact I won. I guess he lured me into the sport.”
Can she triumph in Tokyo? It’s going to be tough. American teammate Dalilah Muhammad won at the 2019 World Championships, and broke her own world record in the process. But McLaughlin looked threatening in Doha, finishing just 0.07 seconds behind. It’s not hard to imagine either athlete breaking the world record (52.16s) – or even going below the hallowed 52 second barrier, on their way to taking the title in Japan.
“I knew the race would be fast,” said McLaughlin after the Worlds. “But I didn’t think it would be that fast. I’m still young and I’ve learned so much.”