There was no celebratory scream when Sydney McLaughlin crossed the finish line Wednesday. She didn’t throw her hands in the air or double over on the track. There were no tears. No boasting. No dancing. And only a quick glimpse of a smile.
“Too many emotions, that you have no emotions,” she said later.
She appeared calm and subdued even after the crowning moment of her career – victory in one of the fastest 400-meter hurdles races in Olympic history, and the second in as many days.
The 21-year-old New Jersey product broke her own world record by nearly half a second Wednesday en route to Olympic gold, outsprinting compatriot Dalilah Muhammad – the reigning world champion and Olympic gold medalist – after both women cleared the 10th and final hurdle. McLaughlin crossed the finish line in 51.46 seconds, setting a bar that everyone else will now try to clear. Muhammad, 31, also broke the previous world record. And Femke Bol of the Netherlands, who took bronze, finished just .13 away.
It was an epic race, eerily similar to the men’s 400-meter hurdles event that took place the previous day.
“It’s not one of the hot events that people usually want to watch a whole lot,” McLaughlin said of the 400 hurdles. “But we’ve definitely made it something very interesting.”
All of what transpired Wednesday had long been expected of her: The Olympic gold medal, the world record, all of it years in the making, finally falling into place. While many athletes go through a lengthy evolution, McLaughlin’s career has essentially had two stages: She a teenage prodigy, destined for the top, and then she was there.
That’s not to say it has been easy, of course. Just that the challenges she’s had to overcome are different. McLaughlin has had to grow up faster than other 21-year-olds. (She’ll turn 22 on Saturday.) And she’s had to carry expectations that the outside world has placed upon her, this external idea that McLaughlin will break a record or do something incredible every time she steps on the track.
Perhaps that’s why McLaughlin didn’t appear outwardly elated or shocked Wednesday, when she won an Olympic gold medal in world-record time. She always knew she had the talent and desire to do it. It was just a matter of getting it done. As she crouched on the track, peering up at the scoreboard, she was exactly where she expected to be.
According to www.usatoday.com; the guardian. Source of photo: internet