Sydney McLaughlin Destroys Her Own World Record and Makes the Olympics Fun Again

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Sydney McLaughlin Is Absolutely Electric

We’re in a weird, twisted place as a country where far too many people like to make a big deal out of what they don’t like or what they don’t care about. Last year was rough, so I can understand being a little negative, but I think it’s starting to get a bit pathological.

It’s been popular this summer to hate on the Olympics. And yes, anybody who hits social media to make a public proclamation that they don’t care about the Olympics is, in fact, hating on them. People who really don’t care about things don’t mention them.

It’s true that there have been a few U.S. athletes who have tried to ruin the games, but I prefer to let them remain nameless, annoying, and thus far, losers.

There are a lot of good American Olympians who are worth paying attention to and cheering for. As I wrote in my Morning Briefing a couple of weeks ago, we shouldn’t ignore them because of the bad seeds.

I mentioned hurdler Sydney McLaughlin as one of my favorites of this U.S. Olympic team. She runs the 400-meter hurdles and set a new world record at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. Her teammate Dalilah Muhammad held the two previous world records. The two push each other to new bests and that was what track fans were expecting Tuesday night in the Olympic women’s 400-meter hurdles finals.

They didn’t disappoint:

I said “they” because Muhammad’s silver medal time was faster than McClaughlin’s record from June. Muhammad was also the defending Olympic champion. Until the U.S. trials, no woman had ever run the 400-meter hurdles in under 52 seconds. Now McLaughlin has done it twice and Muhammad once.

The two are everything that’s good about sports. After McClaughlin’s two world record races, Muhammad was the first to her with a smile and a hug to congratulate her. It’s a rivalry, yes, but it’s not a bitter one. Each knows the other makes her better and it shows. Here’s how McLaughlin described their relationship when asked about it:

“Iron sharpens iron,” she said. “People can call it whatever they want to call it; it’s two great athletes pushing each other to be better. There’s no animosity or hard feelings. It’s just two people trying to be their best. We wouldn’t be able to have these world records go back and forth without one another.”

I’ve always been a huge track and field fan, long before my daughter became a collegiate runner. The running events are my favorite at every Olympics and Tokyo has not disappointed so far. Sydney McLaughlin was my favorite U.S. athlete going into these games and she’s been a delight. Bryan has become a big fan too.

Not only is she a lot of fun to watch, but she also gives all the glory to God after every race.

I can always cheer for that.


Here’s the race. Enjoy.