Summer 2024

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone breaks world record at Olympic trials: 'Anything is possible in Christ'

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone put her hands over her mouth when she saw the time: 50.65. Even she could barely believe she’d broken her own world record in Sunday’s 400-meter hurdles final, the last race at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials.

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Her previous record of 50.68 seconds was set on the same track, Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, at the world championships two years ago. She now owns seven of the 10 fastest times in the history of the event.

Speaking with NBC immediately after the race, McLaughlin-Levrone pointed to her faith in God — like she’s done so many times during her remarkable career — as the only way to explain what she’d just done.

“Honestly, praise God, I was not expecting that,” she said. “Anything is possible in Christ. I’m just amazed, baffled and in shock.”

After winning the flat 400m at the U.S. Track and Field Championships last summer, McLaughlin-Levrone chose to end her season early so she could recover from a knee injury and be fully healthy for the Olympics. That meant missing the world championships, the biggest event outside of the Olympics for track and field athletes.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist, who is featured on the cover of the Summer 2024 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine, said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in January that the injury forced her to rely on her faith even more.

“I think just this past season of being injured, not being able to perform at my best, and really having to lean on the Lord in all of this was just a great reminder that not everything is always going to be perfect,” McLaughlin-Levrone said on the podcast. “Not everything’s going to go your way.”

She went back to her specialty — the 400m hurdles — for the Olympic trials and will attempt to defend her gold medal from 2021 when the Paris Olympics begin later this month. The opening ceremony is July 26, and the first round of the women’s 400m hurdles is Aug. 4 with the final taking place Aug. 8.

Away from the track, McLaughlin-Levrone wrote a book called “Far Beyond Gold: Running From Fear to Faith,” which was released in January. In the book, she shares her testimony and talks about how her relationship with Christ has helped her battle perfectionism and anxiety.

McLaughlin-Levrone told Sports Spectrum back in 2021 that there was a point where track was her identity. As her faith has grown, she has found contentment in Christ no matter what is happening on the track.

“In a sport where you’re literally chasing gold all the time, I would take my love for Christ and that relationship over a gold medal any day,” she said on the podcast.

This will be McLaughlin-Levrone’s third Olympics. She reached the semifinals of the 400m hurdles as a high schooler in 2016, then set a world record in the final of the event at the Tokyo Olympics. She also won a gold medal as part of the 4x400m relay team in Tokyo.

“Whatever [2024] brings, I’m going to stick to the same script of going out there to honor and glorify Him and leaving it all out there on the track and whatever happens, happens,” she said on the podcast.

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