Sydney McLaughlin

Sydney McLaughlin
2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships (27905674877-cropped550x770).jpg
Personal information
Full nameSydney Michelle McLaughlin
Born (1999-08-07) August 7, 1999 (age 22)
New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.
EmployerNew Balance[1]
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)[2]
Weight132 lb (60 kg)
SportTrack and field
College teamKentucky Wildcats (2018)[3]
Coached by
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)
  • 400 m hurdles: 51.46 (2021, OR WR)[7]
  • 400 m: 50.07 (2018)
  • Indoor 400 m: 50.36 (2018, AU20R)
  • 200 m: 22.39 (2018)
  • Indoor 200 m: 22.68 (2018)
Medal record
Women's track and field
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo 400 m hurdles
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo 4×400 m relay
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2019 Doha 4×400 m relay
Silver medal – second place 2019 Doha 400 m hurdles
World Youth Championships
Gold medal – first place 2015 Cali 400 m hurdles

Sydney Michelle McLaughlin (born August 7, 1999) is an American hurdler, sprinter, and Olympic gold medalist who competed for the University of Kentucky for one year before turning professional in 2018.[6] She is the current world record holder in the women's 400 meters hurdles with a time of 51.46 seconds, set on August 4, 2021, at the Tokyo Olympics in the final run.[7][8] She was the first woman to break 52 seconds in the event when she set the world record of 51.90 at the 2020 USA Olympic trials.[4]

She won the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400 m hurdles and subsequently won the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, beating the reigning gold medalist, teammate Dalilah Muhammad, who finished second. McLaughlin won the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in the 400 m hurdles. She placed third in the 400 m hurdles at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, and was the youngest athlete to qualify for the U.S. track and field team for the 2016 Summer Olympics, where she finished 16th overall.[9]

Early life

Sydney McLaughlin was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on August 7, 1999.[10] She is the daughter of Willie McLaughlin, a semi-finalist in the 400 m at the 1984 Olympic Trials.[9] He was the recipient of a heart transplant in February 2021. Her mother, Mary Neumeister McLaughlin, was a high school runner.[11][12]

She grew up in Dunellen, New Jersey, and is a member of the class of 2017 at Union Catholic Regional High School in Scotch Plains, and has been successful academically.[13][14][15] McLaughlin took up running at an early age, following brother Taylor and their older sister Morgan.[13] Taylor, who ran for the University of Michigan, took silver at the 400 m hurdles at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships.[9] Her younger brother, Ryan, took after his older siblings as a track stand-out at Union Catholic.[16]

Early career

McLaughlin placed a close second behind Shamier Little in the 400-meter hurdles at the national junior (under-20) championships in 2014; her time of 55.63 was a national high school freshman record and a world age-14 best.[17][18] She would have qualified to represent the United States at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, but was a year too young to be eligible.[19] McLaughlin also set a world age group best (13.34) in the 100-meter hurdles over 76.2 cm (2 ft 6 in) hurdles that summer.[18]

McLaughlin improved her 400-meter hurdles best to 55.28 at the 2015 national youth trials; the time was an age 15 world best, and ranked second on the all-time world youth list behind Leslie Maxie's world youth best (and national high school record) of 55.20 set in 1984.[19] She qualified for the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, where she won gold in 55.94; she finished the year as the world youth and junior leader in the event.[20]

McLaughlin won the 400-meter hurdles in 54.46 at the 2016 New Balance national outdoor high school championships; the time broke Maxie's prep record and world youth best, as well as Lashinda Demus's American junior record of 54.70.[21] In addition, she ran on Union Catholic's team in the Swedish medley relay, running a fast 50.93 split for 400 meters as the team set a new high school record of 2:07.99.[21] McLaughlin won the USATF junior championship in 54.54 the following week; in recognition of her accomplishments, she was named Gatorade National Girls Athlete of the Year.[14][22]

McLaughlin was part of an American Record quartet that broke the indoor distance medley relay world record with a time of 10:40.31, set at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on January 28, 2017. The splits for the four legs were: 3:18.40 (1200 m) by Olympic medalist Emma Coburn, 52.32 (400 m) by McLaughlin, 2:01.92 (800 m) by Brenda Martinez, and 4:27.66 (1600 m) by Olympic medalist and former world 1500m champion Jenny Simpson.[23] Later that indoor season, McLaughlin lowered her own national 400-meter record to a 51.61 at the New Balance Nationals in New York City on March 12, 2017.[24]

McLaughlin won her heat (55.46) and semi-final (55.23) in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2016 United States Olympic Trials.[20][25] In the final she placed third in 54.15, setting a new world youth best and world junior record and qualifying for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro before her senior year in high school.[26] McLaughlin is the youngest athlete to make the American Olympic track and field team since Carol Lewis and Denean Howard qualified for the boycotted Moscow Olympics in 1980.[27] At the Olympics she placed 5th in her semi-final heat, failing to advance to the finals.[28]

In April 2017, McLaughlin opened her outdoor season by breaking the 300 m hurdles national high school record at the Arcadia Invitational, running 38.90. The record was previously held by Lashinda Demus who ran 39.98 in 2001. The record was the first ever attempt over 300m hurdles for McLaughlin as high school track meets in New Jersey do not contest the 300m hurdles. Her time of 38.90 is considered to be a North American record and number 2 all-time worldwide behind Zuzana Hejnova who ran 38.16 in 2013.[29] Later that month, McLaughlin ran the fastest ever high school girls (400 m) relay split during the Championship of America high school girls 4x400 at the 123rd Penn Relays. After taking the baton at the back of an eight-team field, McLaughlin posted a split of 50.37, passing five teams to lead her Union Catholic relay team to a third-place finish in 3:38.92.[30] She bettered this mark at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Meet on June 18, 2017. Taking the baton in 6th place on the final handoff, she passed five runners to lead Union Catholic to victory, posting a split of 49.85 seconds.[31]

McLaughlin was named the Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year in 2015–16 and 2016–17. She was the first athlete to repeat in the then-15-year history of the award. At the age of 17 she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when she won the award the second time in July 2017 and the magazine said she "ranks as one of the most dominant high school athletes ever."[32]

Sydney McLaughlin at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials

University of Kentucky

In November 2016, McLaughlin signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Kentucky and compete for their track and field program.[33][34]

In March 2018, McLaughlin set the world junior 400-meter record (50.36) at the 2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships.

On May 13, 2018, McLaughlin broke the collegiate and NCAA record in the 400 m hurdles, running 52.75 to win the event in her first SEC championship appearance.[35]

Professional career

In June 2018, after one year at Kentucky, she forfeited her eligibility to compete in college to turn professional, and signed a sponsorship deal with New Balance in October of the same year.[36][37]

After a bidding war, she got an estimated $1.5 million in annual base pay from New Balance. Instead of hiring an agent specializing in athletes, McLaughlin contracted with William Morris Endeavor, a firm that typically represents Hollywood stars.[38]


Information is from World Athletics, unless otherwise noted.[39]

Personal bests

Surface Distance Time Date Location Notes
Outdoor 400 m hurdles 51.46 August 4, 2021 Tokyo, Japan OR World record
300 m hurdles 38.90 April 9, 2017 Arcadia, California, U.S. American high school record
100 m hurdles 12.65 May 9, 2021 Walnut, California, U.S.
400 m 50.07 March 30, 2018 Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
200 m 22.39 March 29, 2018 Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Indoor 60 m hurdles 8.17 March 15, 2015 New York, New York, U.S.
400 m 50.36 March 10, 2018 College Station, Texas, U.S. Under-20 North American record[note 1]
300 m 36.12 December 8, 2017 Bloomington, Indiana, U.S. Under-20 world record[42]
200 m 22.68 March 9, 2018 College Station, Texas, U.S.

International championships

Representing the United States
Year Competition Position Event Venue Time Notes
2015 World Youth Championships 1st 400 m hurdles Cali, Colombia 55.94 CR
2016 Olympic Games 16th 400 m hurdles Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 56.22
2019 World Championships 2nd 400 m hurdles Doha, Qatar 52.23 PB, #3 all-time
1st 4×400 m relay 3:18.92 WL, 48.8 split
2021 Olympic Games 1st 400 m hurdles Tokyo, Japan 51.46 OR WR
1st 4×400 m relay 3:16.85

Circuit wins and titles

National championships

Representing the Union Catholic Vikings (2014–2017), the Kentucky Wildcats (2018), and New Balance (2019–2021)
Year Competition Position Event Venue Time Notes
2014 NSAF Indoor Nationals 11th 60 m hurdles New York, New York 8.67 [44]
4th 4×200 m relay 1:40.61 [45]
NSAF Nationals 2nd 100 m hurdles Greensboro, North Carolina 13.34 (+0.5 m/s wind), PB[46]
7th 4×200 m relay 1:41.42 [47]
1st 400 m hurdles 56.89 PB[48]
USATF Junior Championships 2nd 400 m hurdles Eugene, Oregon 55.63 PB
2015 NSAF Indoor Nationals 1st 60 m hurdles New York, New York 8.17 PB[49]
NSAF Nationals 1st 400 m hurdles Greensboro, North Carolina 55.87 SB[50]
U.S. World Youth Trials 1st 400 m hurdles Lisle, Illinois 55.28 PB
2016 NSAF Indoor Nationals 1st 400 m New York, New York 51.84 CR, PB[51]
1st 4×400 m relay 3:40.28 CR[52]
NSAF Nationals 1st 400 m hurdles Greensboro, North Carolina 54.46 CR, PB[53]
USATF Junior Championships 1st 400 m hurdles Clovis, California 54.54
U.S. Olympic Trials 3rd 400 m hurdles Eugene, Oregon 54.15 PB
2017 NSAF Indoor Nationals 1st 400 m New York, New York 51.61 CR, PB[54]
NSAF Nationals 1st 400 m hurdles Greensboro, North Carolina 54.22 CR[55]
USATF Championships 6th 400 m hurdles Sacramento, California 53.82 PB
2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships 2nd 400 m College Station, Texas 50.36 PB
5th 4×400 m relay 3:30.08
4th 200 m 22.80
NCAA Division I Championships 1st 400 m hurdles Eugene, Oregon 53.96
4th 4×400 m relay 3:30.52
2019 USATF Championships 2nd 400 m hurdles Des Moines, Iowa 52.88 SB
2021 U.S. Olympic Trials 1st 400 m hurdles Eugene, Oregon 51.90 WR

400 m hurdles progression

Year Time Location Day
2014 55.63 Eugene, Oregon, U.S. July 6
2015 55.28 Lisle, Illinois, U.S. July 1
2016 54.15 Eugene, Oregon, U.S. July 10
2017 53.82 Sacramento, California, U.S. June 25
2018 52.75 Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S. May 13
2019 52.23 Doha, Qatar October 4
2021 51.46 Tokyo, Japan August 4

Personal life

McLaughlin belongs to an athletic family. Her father, Willie, who is a member of the Manhattan College Athletic Hall of Fame as a three-time All-American,[56] was a semi-finalist in the 400 meters at the 1984 Olympic Trials. Her mother, Mary, was a 2:12 half-miler at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda, New York, where she ran on the boys team.[17][12] Her older brother, Taylor, won silver in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships[13] and ran for the University of Michigan. Her older sister Morgan ran for St. Peter's University. Her younger brother, Ryan, was the fifth member of the family to win a New Jersey county track title.[16][32] Her parents met as students at Manhattan College; there was no women's track team when Mary arrived in 1979, so she became the manager of the men's track team.[57][12]

"All of our kids are fairly talented," Willie said when Sydney was 14. "But (Sydney's) a little special. We saw it coming. It was just a matter of time."[17]

McLaughlin is an evangelical Christian.[58]

She is in a relationship with Andre Levrone Jr. (born March 9, 1995), who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 and played parts of three seasons as a wide receiver in the NFL before leaving the league.[59][60]

Since June 2021, McLaughlin has been a brand ambassador for Swiss luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer.[61]


  1. ^ Though her indoor 400 m time of 50.36 s is faster than the world under-20 record as recognized by World Athletics, it has not been ratified and is not listed as pending ratification as of June 2021.[40][41]


  1. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (October 15, 2018). "Sydney McLaughlin signs with New Balance". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  2. ^ "Sydney McLaughlin". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  3. ^ "SYDNEY MCLAUGHLIN KENTUCKY". Track & Field Results Reporting System. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Schad, Tom; Dragon, Tyler (June 28, 2021). "Sydney McLaughlin breaks world record in 400-meter hurdles to win U.S. Olympic trials". USA Today. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Cherry, Gene (January 25, 2019). "Athletics: McLaughlin set to start pro career but not in hurdles". Reuters. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Boylan-Pett, Liam (October 24, 2017). "The Track Phenom Who Chose College Over Riches". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Athletics - Final Results - Women's 400 m hurdles (Tokyo 2020)". IOC. August 4, 2021.
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  9. ^ a b c "Sydney McLaughlin Biography, Olympic Medals, and Age". Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Leiker, Emily. "Sydney McLaughlin breaks own world record at Tokyo Olympics, wins gold". USA Today. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  11. ^, Steve Politi | NJ Advance Media for (July 30, 2021). "Tokyo Olympics: Cheering Sydney McLaughlin, with every beat of his new heart | Politi". nj. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Brady, Erik. "Erik Brady: An Olympic athlete's roots run deep in Western New York". The Buffalo News. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c "Track: Union Catholic siblings Taylor and Sydney McLaughlin were born to run". The Star-Ledger. January 29, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Konecky, Chad (June 27, 2016). "Sydney McLaughlin wins Gatorade National Track & Field Athlete of the Year". USA Today. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  15. ^ "Union Catholic Track Star Will Be Youngest U.S. Track Star in Olympics", TAP into Union, July 11, 2016. Accessed July 13, 2016. "Sydney McLaughlin a member of the Class of 2017 at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, set a high school and new world junior record in the women's 400 hurdles at the U.S. Olympic trails. 'All the pressure I put on myself,' McLaughlin, a resident of Dunellen, said in her post-race interview on NBC, which will air the games from Brazil next month."
  16. ^ a b, Patrick Lanni | NJ Advance Media for (May 20, 2017). "Not afraid of family legacy, UC's Ryan McLaughlin adds to county title haul". nj. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c Mazzone, Stephen (July 14, 2014). "Sydney McLaughlin is Too Good to Be Only 14". MileSplit. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Butler, Mark (ed.). "IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 Statistics Handbook". IAAF Communications Department: 525. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  19. ^ a b Mulkeen, Jon (July 1, 2015). "McLaughlin, Hill and Lyles impress at US Youth Championships". Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Sydney McLaughlin at Tilastopaja (registration required)
  21. ^ a b "McLaughlin's record-shattering performances earn AOW honors". USA Track & Field. June 21, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  22. ^ Jordan, Jason (July 13, 2016). "Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year Sydney McLaughlin has rare talents away from the track". USA Today. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  23. ^ "Coburn, McLaughlin, Martinez, Simpson Break DMR World Record". FloTrack. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  24. ^ "Sydney McLaughlin Lowers Own National Record to 51.61".
  25. ^ Lambert, Jim (July 10, 2016). "Rio 2016: N.J. high school phenom McLaughlin aims to make Olympic Team on Sunday". Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  26. ^ Young, Dennis (July 10, 2016). "16-Year-Old Sydney McLaughlin Makes Olympic Team With World Junior Record". FloTrack. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  27. ^ Lambert, Jim (July 10, 2016). "Rio 2016: N.J. HS phenom Sydney McLaughlin runs her way onto the Olympic team". Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "Olympic Track & Field Results: Sydney McLaughlin Doesn't Qualify In 400M Hurdles". August 17, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  29. ^ "Sydney McLaughlin Breaks 300m Hurdles National High School Record - FloTrack".
  30. ^ "ALL-USA Watch: Sydney McLaughlin runs another astonishing split at Penn Relays". April 29, 2017.
  31. ^ "Track phenom Sydney McLaughlin's historic race - ESPN Video". June 21, 2017.
  32. ^ a b Greene, Dan. "Sydney McLaughlin is Gatorade Athlete of the Year". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  33. ^ Lambert, Jim (November 14, 2016). "N.J. teen Olympian Sydney McLaughlin has picked her college. The winner is..." Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  34. ^ "UKTF Signing Sydney McLaughlin Sweeps 2016 Awards". University of Kentucky. Retrieved June 19, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  35. ^ "McLaughlin smashes own world U20 400m hurdles record with 52.75 in Knoxville | REPORT | World Athletics".
  36. ^ Fisher, Chris (June 10, 2019). "Kentucky freshman phenom Sydney McLaughlin to turn pro". 247Sports. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  37. ^ Stunson, Mike (October 16, 2018). "Former UK track star McLaughlin signs with New Balance after 'huge bidding war'". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  38. ^ "Sydney McLaughlin on Owning Her Career". Women's Running. January 6, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  39. ^ "ATHLETE PROFILE Sydney MCLAUGHLIN". World Athletics. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
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  41. ^ "World U20 Records". World Athletics. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  42. ^ Most, Jake (December 8, 2017). "Sydney McLaughlin Sets World Junior 300m Record in UK Debut". Kentucky Wildcats. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  43. ^ Kelly, Madeline (August 29, 2019). "Sydney McLaughlin beats world record holder to win Diamond League final". Canadian Running Magazine. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  44. ^ "Event 16 Girls 60 Meter Hurdles Championship". Delta Timing Group. March 16, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  45. ^ "Event 18 Girls 4x200 Meter Relay Championship". Delta Timing Group. March 16, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  46. ^ "Event 16 Girls 100 Meter Hurdles Championship". New Balance. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  47. ^ "Event 30 Girls 4x200 Meter Relay Championship". New Balance. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  48. ^ "Event 18 Girls 400 Meter Hurdles Championship". New Balance. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  49. ^ "Event 16 Girls 60 Meter Hurdles Championship". Delta Timing Group. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  50. ^ "Girls 400 Meter Hurdles Championship". New Balance. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  51. ^ "Event 6 Girls 400 Meter Run Championship". Delta Timing Group. March 16, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  52. ^ "Event 20 Girls 4x400 Meter Relay Championship". Delta Timing Group. March 16, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  53. ^ "Event 18 Girls 400 Meter Hurdles Championship". New Balance. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  54. ^ "Event 6 Girls 400 Meter Run Championship". Delta Timing Group. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  55. ^ "Event 18 Girls 400 Meter Hurdles Championship". New Balance. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  56. ^ "Willie McLaughlin (1997) - Manhattan College Athletic Hall of Fame". Manhattan College Athletics. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  57. ^ "Sydney McLaughlin's Gold Rush - Syndey McLaughlin Interview Olympics Athlete Hurdles". July 6, 2021. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  58. ^ Shields, Christian (June 28, 2021). "Sydney McLaughlin gives 'all the glory to God' after setting 400m hurdles world record". Sports Spectrum. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  59. ^ "Andre Levrone Jr. podcast, Former NFL Player". Sports Spectrum. November 6, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  60. ^ "Andre Levrone Stats, News, Bio". ESPN. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  61. ^ "Tag Heuer Unveils Olympian Sydney McLaughlin as Brand Ambassador". June 10, 2021. Retrieved August 5, 2021.

External links

Preceded by
United States Dalilah Muhammad
Women's 400 m hurdles world record holder
June 27, 2021 – present
Preceded by
Candace Hill
USA Track & Field Youth Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Jakobe Ford


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