Sydney McLaughlin runs a fabulous record

The American runs over the 400 m hurdles a time that makes some men look old. A year ago she entered a new dimension, now she has pushed the boundaries of the imaginable again.

The opponents are far behind: Sydney McLaughlin on the home stretch in the 400m hurdles.

Jean Christophe Bott / Keystone

There are moments when it becomes apparent that something extraordinary is happening. Usain Bolt created such when he pushed the 100m and 200m sprints to dimensions that still seem incredible today in 2009. Justin Gatlin, one of his competitors, said at the time that the Jamaican had arrived on Mars and that other humans had yet to follow. You didn’t make it. Bolt’s world records of 9.58 over 100 and 19.19 have remained untouchable, and so far even the super shoes have not helped.

An improvement that puts Usain Bolt to shame

Back then, Bolt improved the world record in three steps over 100 m by 16 hundredths of a second or 1.64 percent. That’s a massive increase when you consider that the difference between winning and losing is often just a few hundredths and in the single-digit percentage range. McLaughlin improved the record on the track four times by a total of 1.48 seconds or 2.84 percent. No other record has been so improved in recent years. So if Bolt landed on Mars, he flew all the way to Jupiter.

What is particularly impressive is the way McLaughlin pushes the boundaries of what is imaginable. This was shown once again in Eugene during her third world record run. She runs with stupendous technique and calm ease. It almost seems as if the opponents are running in slow motion while she flies from hurdle to hurdle.

The gap in the finish made it clear that the 22-year-old is running in a different world. Second-placed Femke Bol was several meters and 1.59 seconds behind, which is pretty much the margin McLaughlin improved on the world record.

There are other ways to classify McLaughlin’s level. Her time over the hurdles would have placed her 7th in the women’s 400m flat race some 30 minutes earlier. Imagine this: one woman runs with hurdles, the other seven without, and you hardly see a difference. What’s more, McLaughlin would cut a good figure with her performance in many men’s races. In Switzerland only six athletes were faster this year.

It’s unreal for them too

The athlete herself seemed a little shocked after the race. “It’s unreal,” she said. She just ran to win. In the last 100 meters she felt great pain. After all, because otherwise she would definitely have been taken for an extraterrestrial. At the award ceremony, the President of the World Association presented her with a compensation of 100,000 dollars. It was the first world record bonus paid out at the 2022 World Cup. Plus $60,000 for the win. But for a flight to Jupiter, that’s actually just a tip.

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