Sydney McLaughlin Broke Dalilah Muhammad’s 400-Meter Hurdles Record at Tokyo Olympics

Track stars Dalilah Muhammad, left, and Sydney McLaughlin, right, go in for a hug. Image: Abbie Parr/Getty Image

Sydney McLaughlin continues the streak of Black girl magic dominating the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with her record-breaking win at the 400-meter hurdles Wednesday.

Already one of the world’s best hurdlers, McLaughlin, a native of Dunellen, N.J., earned a silver medal with a 51.46 time, beating former record-holder and defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad’s time of 51.58. In addition to that, McLaughlin also beat her old record of 51.9, which she set during June’s Olympic trials.

Now known as the “second-fastest hurdler in the world,” McLaughlin credits her love of the race and competition with the achievement.

“I think that’s really iron sharpening iron,” McLaughlin said to The New York Times about Dalilah Muhammad. “Every time we step on the track, it’s always something fast.” 

While clearing 10 hurdles at 17 miles-per-hour is no easy feat, the back-and-forth between McLaughlin and Muhammad will continue next July when they meet at the World championships in 2022. Muhammad, a Bayside, Queens native who went to Southern Cal, and McLaughlin have been trading the record, and the wins, for two years.

Muhammad first broke the mark at U.S. Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2019, and McLaughlin broke that record during the summer Olympic trials, running at 51.90 to become the first woman to crack 52 seconds.

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Their matchup is incredible and future competitions between them feel inevitable.

Don’t forget to read our op-ed titled “The Olympic Conundrum Between Black Excellence and Humanity” by A. Sherrod Blakely now!

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