Entering the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials for the 400-meter hurdles, 21-year-old Sydney McLaughlin set her eyes on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. She left with a world record.
With a time of 51.90 seconds Sunday night in Eugene, Oregon, she not only won the trials but became the first woman to go under 52 seconds. She broke American Dalilah Muhammad’s 2019 400m hurdles time of 52.16.
Muhammad, the reigning Olympic and world champion, finished second Sunday in 52.42, qualifying for her second Olympic team. She and McLaughlin are expected to battle for gold in Tokyo.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 28, 2021
With her victory, McLaughlin will represent the U.S. at the Olympics for the second time. At the 2016 Rio Games, just a week after turning 17, McLaughlin didn’t make it past the semifinals.
After Sunday’s race, McLaughlin praised God.
“All the glory to God,” McLaughlin told NBC following her victory. “Honestly, this season just working with my new coach and my new support system, it’s truly just faith and trusting the process. I couldn’t ask for anything more and truly it is all a gift from God.”
In another post-race interview with more media members, McLaughlin was asked if she ever felt frustrated after many times finishing behind Muhammad, who has clearly set the standard in the women’s 400m hurdles.
“Dalilah’s a great competitor,” McLaughlin said. “I think I was growing into my own person. And I think the biggest difference this year is my faith, trusting God and trusting that process, and knowing that He’s in control of everything. As long as I put the hard work in, He’s going to carry me through. And I really cannot do anything more but give the glory to Him at this point.”
McLaughlin often uses social media as tool by which she expresses her faith and shares the Gospel with fans. As depicted by an Instagram post from February, McLaughlin has actively chosen to hand her future over to God.
“We can laugh at whatever lies ahead because we know HE has already won,” McLaughlin wrote. “We can sleep easier at night knowing HE has a plan for whatever may normally trouble us. We can laugh at anything that doesn’t fit the purpose for our lives, because we know God’s plan is greater.”
Through social media, she has revealed that her relationship with God is more than just a matter of believing in God, it is a friendship with Him.
“The peace of knowing I will always have a friend, always have His support, and always have His LOVE; makes even the loneliest of moments feel full,” McLaughlin wrote in May. “My soul finds rest in knowing He is not like us. He doesn’t change, and He will never leave me. Giving the ability to be completely content, no matter the situation. Simply because, I don’t have to face it alone. That. Is. Love.”
View this post on Instagram
Immediately after winning Sunday’s race, McLaughlin was congratulated by Muhammad, who showed sportsmanship and class despite losing the race and her world record.
“Congratulations, you world-record holder,” Muhammad told McLaughlin after the race. “It’s going to be a battle in Tokyo for sure.”
The first round of the women’s 400m hurdle competition at the Tokyo Games will be July 31. The semifinals will occur Aug. 2 and the finals will be on Aug. 4.
— U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix defies odds, prepares for fifth and final Olympics
— Javelin record holder Maggie Malone finds her identity in Christ, not performance
— Vashti Cunningham, daughter of former NFL QB, trusts God as she aims for medal
— INCREASE STORY: God Alone Defines Me – Kyle Snyder
— Simone Manuel overcomes odds to qualify for U.S. Olympic team, praises God for success
— Kelsey Plum helps U.S. 3×3 basketball team qualify for Olympics, gives glory to God
— SS PODCAST: Compassion Int’l CEO Jimmy Mellado on Olympics, families in poverty