Sydney McLaughlin has completely shattered the 400m hurdles world record, which she herself had set, with a new time of 50.68 seconds.
It has been a rollercoaster journey for the American, who was was unable to compete for the gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the 2014 World U20 Championships when they were held in Eugene.
She qualified for the tournament but could not participate because the World Athletics rules prevented her from doing so, as she was only 14 years old, too young for the category.
Eight years later, she has finally shined at Hayward Field, a venue she knows like the back of her hand. It is no coincidence that three of her four world records came on this track.
Perhaps that is why all eyes were on her in the last race, waiting for a first world record that would brighten up a World Championships lacking records, apart from the odd memorable moment.
McLaughlin knew it and did not disappoint. What’s more, she exceeded expectations because she has taken the 400m hurdles into uncharted territory.
The American hit the ground running and within 150 metres she was already dominating Dalilah Muhammad, who had beaten her in Doha back in 2019.
Her progress was unstoppable and, by the eighth hurdle, she had built up an almost insulting lead over Femke Bol and Muhammad.
The applause was loud as the entire stadium was aware that they were witnessing a memorable moment, something that was confirmed when McLaughlin crossed the finish line in 50.68, 73 hundredths faster than her previous world record, achieved on the same track on June 25, at the US trials.
She beat Bol by one and a half seconds despite the latter recording 52.27, the best time achieved in history for a world silver medallist.
The podium was completed by Muhammad (53.13), also the fastest bronze medallist of all time.
Who is Sydney McLaughlin?
Married since May this year to former NFL player Andre Levrone Jr, McLaughlin is the daughter and sister of athletes, though none of them possessed her talent.
Her father, Willie McLaughlin, was a semi-finalist in the 400m at the 1984 trials.
After a year at the University of Kentucky, she turned pro in 2018, signing a contract with New Balance for 1.5 million dollars a year.
What’s more, her agent usually works with Hollywood stars and not with other athletes.
What McLaughlin has in store for us in the future, nobody knows, but it no longer seems impossible to break the 50-second barrier.