Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone
Personal information
Birth nameSydney Michelle McLaughlin
Full nameSydney Michelle McLaughlin-Levrone
Born (1999-08-07) August 7, 1999 (age 24)
New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.
EmployerNew Balance[1]
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)[2]
Weight132 lb (60 kg)
SpouseAndre Levrone Jr.
Sport
CountryUnited States
SportTrack and field
Events
College teamKentucky Wildcats (2017–2018)[3]
Coached by
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals
  • 2020 Tokyo
  • 400 m hurdles,  Gold
  • 4×400 m relay,  Gold
World finals
  • 2019 Doha
  • 400 m hurdles,  Silver
  • 4×400 m relay,  Gold
  • 2022 Eugene
  • 400 m hurdles,  Gold
  • 4×400 m relay,  Gold
Highest world ranking1 (weeks 75, 400 m hurdles)
Personal bests
Medal record
Women's athletics
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
Gold medal – first place 2022 Eugene 400 m hurdles
Gold medal – first place 2022 Eugene 4×400 m relay
Silver medal – second place 2019 Doha 400 m hurdles
Diamond League
First place 2019 400 m hurdles
World Youth Championships
Gold medal – first place 2015 Cali 400 m hurdles

Sydney Michelle McLaughlin-Levrone (née McLaughlin; born August 7, 1999) is an American hurdler and sprinter who competes in the 400 meters hurdles. She is the 2020 Tokyo Olympic champion with the Games record, and 2022 World champion with a world record time of 50.68 seconds. Setting four world records during 13 months, she was the first woman to break the 52-second (June 2021) and 51-second (July 2022) barriers in the 400 m hurdles.[7] She won the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships. At all three competitions, she also took gold as part of a women's 4 × 400 m relay team.

As a 15-year-old, McLaughlin was the 2015 World youth champion. In 2016, she was the youngest athlete since 1980 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic track team, having placed third at the U.S. Olympic Trials, with the current world under-18 best of 54.15 seconds, then also the world U20 record.[8] She holds the current world U20 record of 53.60 seconds, having achieved a junior personal best of 52.75 s (not ratified), with both marks set in 2018. Only two other women also broke the 52-second barrier and McLaughlin-Levrone is the only one who broke the 51-second barrier, leaving her with nearly one second advantage on the world all-time list, the largest current difference between the world record and the next best performer in said track event.[9] She holds six out of the nine fastest times on this list. She was the 2019 Diamond League champion.

In 2022, McLaughlin-Levrone was voted World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year.[9]

Early life and background

Sydney McLaughlin was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on August 7, 1999.[10] Her father, Willie McLaughlin, is a member of the Manhattan College Athletic Hall of Fame as a three-time All-American.[11] He was a semi-finalist in the 400 meters at the 1984 Olympic Trials.[8] Her mother, Mary Neumeister McLaughlin, was a 2:12 half-miler at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda, New York, where she ran on the boys' team.[12][13][14] 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.[13][15]

Sydney grew up in Dunellen, New Jersey. In addition to being successful academically, she took up running at an early age, following brother Taylor and their older sister Morgan.[16] When she was 14, her father said, "All of our kids are fairly talented, but (Sydney's) a little special. We saw it coming. It was just a matter of time."[12] She is a member of the class of 2017 at Union Catholic Regional High School in Scotch Plains, where she was the first two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Track & Field.[16][17][18] Her older sister, Morgan, ran for St. Peter's University. Her older brother, Taylor, ran for the University of Michigan, and won silver in the 400 meter hurdles at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships.[8][16] He and Sydney both qualified for the 2016 US Olympic team.[18] Her younger brother, Ryan, took after his older siblings as a track stand-out at Union Catholic.[19] He was the fifth member of the family to win a New Jersey county track title.[19][20]

Early career

At the national junior championships in 2014, McLaughlin placed a close second behind Shamier Little in the 400-meter hurdles; her time of 55.63 s was a national high school freshman record and a world age-14 best.[12][21] 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.[22] McLaughlin also set a world age group best of 13.34 s in the 100-meter hurdles over 76.2 cm (2 ft 6 in) hurdles that summer.[21]

In 2015, she improved her 400-meter hurdles best to 55.28 s at the 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 s set in 1984.[22] She qualified for the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, where she won gold in 55.94 s; she finished the year as the world youth and junior leader in the event.[23]

2016

McLaughlin won the 400-meter hurdles in 54.46 s at the 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 s.[24] In addition, she ran on Union Catholic's team in the Swedish medley relay, running a fast 50.93 s split for 400 meters as the team set a new high school record of 2:07.99.[24] She won the USATF junior championship in 54.54 s the following week; in recognition of her accomplishments, she was named Gatorade National Girls Athlete of the Year.[17][25]

McLaughlin at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials

McLaughlin placed third in the 400-meter hurdles in 54.15 s at the US Olympic Trials , 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.[23][26][27] She was 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.[28] At the Games, she placed fifth in her semi-final heat, failing to advance to the finals.[29]

2017

She was part of an American record setting 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 at Boston's Reggie Lewis Center. The splits for the four legs were: 3:18.40 (1200 m) by Emma Coburn, 52.32 (400 m) by McLaughlin, 2:01.92 (800 m) by Brenda Martinez, and 4:27.66 (1600 m) by Jenny Simpson.[30] Later that indoor season on March 12, McLaughlin lowered her own national 400-meter record to a 51.61 s at the New Balance Nationals in New York City.[31]

In April, McLaughlin opened her outdoor season by breaking the 300 m hurdles national high school record at the Arcadia Invitational, running 38.90 s. The record was previously held by Lashinda Demus who achieved 39.98 s in 2001. The record was the first ever attempt over 300 m hurdles for McLaughlin as high school track meets in New Jersey do not contest the 300 m hurdles. Her time was a North American record and number 2 all-time worldwide behind Zuzana Hejnová who ran 38.16 in 2013.[32] Later that month, McLaughlin ran the fastest ever high school girls relay split (400 m) during the Championship of America high school girls 4 x 400 at the 123rd Penn Relays. After taking the baton at the back of an eight-team field, she posted a split of 50.37 s, passing five teams to lead her Union Catholic relay team to a third-place finish in 3:38.92.[33] McLaughlin bettered this mark at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Meet on June 18. Taking the baton in sixth place on the final handoff, she passed five runners to lead Union Catholic to victory, posting a split of 49.85 seconds.[34]

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."[20]

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.[35][36]

In March 2018, she set the world junior 400-meter record of 50.36 seconds at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships. On May 13, McLaughlin broke the collegiate record in the 400 m hurdles, running 52.75 s to win the event in her first SEC championship appearance.[37]

Professional career

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2022)

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.[38][39] 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.[40]

She is coached by controversial[41][42] track coach Bob Kersee, whose successes have mainly been with female athletes.

400 meters hurdles

At the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships, held between 27 September and 6 October 2019 in Doha, Qatar, McLaughlin ran the distance in 52.23 seconds finishing in second place behind Dalilah Muhammad. However, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, McLaughlin defeated Muhammad; running a world record time of 51.46 and claimed the Olympic gold.[43]

In June of 2022, she broke her own world record; running a time of 51.41 during the USATF Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. A month later at the World Championships, also at Hayward field, she smashed her own world record again with a time of 50.68 seconds and taking the title of World Champion.

400 meters

On June 9, 2023, in her first race running the 400 meters as a professional, McLaughlin-Levrone ran 49.71 seconds while finishing second to Marileidy Paulino at the Diamond League meet in Paris, France.[44] Later that month, McLaughlin-Levrone ran 49.51 seconds at the 2023 USATF New York GP. On July 8, 2023, McLaughlin-Levrone ran a world leading performance of 48.74 seconds at the USATF Championships in Eugene, Oregon.[45]

She withdrew from the 2023 World Athletics Championships due to a knee injury.[46]

Personal life

McLaughlin-Levrone is married to 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.[47][48] Levrone and McLaughlin announced their engagement on August 25, 2021, at the Four Seasons Resort, Scottsdale.[49] They married at Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, Virginia on May 5, 2022.[50]

McLaughlin-Levrone is a Christian.[51] She and her husband are part of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, and Andre is enrolled at The Master's Seminary, which is affiliated with the church.[52][53]

Her hometown of Dunellen, New Jersey, named the track at the town's Columbia Park for McLaughlin on August 28, 2021.[54]

On January 30, 2024, McLaughlin-Levrone released Far Beyond Gold: Running from Fear to Faith, an autobiographical book recounting her life and experiences from the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials through the 2023 outdoor season.[55]

Achievements

At the 2019 World Championships held in Doha, 29-year-old Dalilah Muhammad held off 20-year-old McLaughlin by 0.07 seconds
McLaughlin-Levrone hurdles at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene
At the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, McLaughlin-Levrone became the first woman to break the 51-second barrier in the 400 m hurdles

Information from World Athletics profile unless otherwise noted.[56]

Personal bests

Surface Distance Time (s) Date Location Notes
Outdoor 400 m hurdles 50.68 July 22, 2022 Eugene, OR, United States World record
300 m hurdles 38.90 April 9, 2017 Arcadia, CA, United States AHSR AU20B North American record
100 m hurdles 12.65 May 9, 2021 Walnut, CA, United States
400 meters 48.74 July 8, 2023 Eugene, OR, United States WL MR
200 meters 22.39 March 29, 2018 Gainesville, FL, United States
100 meters 11.07 April 13, 2018 Knoxville, TN, United States w
Indoor 60 m hurdles 8.17 March 15, 2015 New York, NY, United States
400 meters 50.36 March 10, 2018 College Station, TX, United States AU20R[note 1]
300 meters 36.12 December 8, 2017 Bloomington, IN, United States Under-20 world best[59]
200 meters 22.68 March 9, 2018 College Station, TX, United States
Youth and junior achievements
Outdoor 400 m hurdles 54.15 July 10, 2016 Eugene, OR, United States World under-18 best
53.60 April 27, 2018 Fayetteville, AR, United States World under-20 record

International championships

Representing the  United States
Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
2015 World Youth Championships Cali, Colombia 1st 400 m hurdles 55.94 CR
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil sf (17th) 400 m hurdles 56.22
2019 World Championships Doha, Qatar 2nd 400 m hurdles 52.23 PB, 3rd all time
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:18.92 WL, (48.8 split)
2021 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 1st 400 m hurdles 51.46 OR WR
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:16.85 SB
2022 World Championships Eugene, OR, USA 1st 400 m hurdles 50.68 WR
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:17.79 WL, (47.91 split)

Circuit wins and titles

National championships

Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
Representing the Union Catholic Vikings (2014–2017), the Kentucky Wildcats (2018), and New Balance (2019–Present)
2014 NSAF Indoor Nationals New York, New York 11th 60 m hurdles 8.67 [61]
4th 4 × 200 m relay 1:40.61 [62]
NSAF Nationals Greensboro, North Carolina 2nd 100 m hurdles 13.34 (+0.5 m/s wind), PB[63]
7th 4 × 200 m relay 1:41.42 [64]
1st 400 m hurdles 56.89 PB[65]
USATF Junior Championships Eugene, Oregon 2nd 400 m hurdles 55.63 PB
2015 NSAF Indoor Nationals New York, New York 1st 60 m hurdles 8.17 PB[66]
NSAF Nationals Greensboro, North Carolina 1st 400 m hurdles 55.87 SB[67]
U.S. World Youth Trials Lisle, Illinois 1st 400 m hurdles 55.28 PB
2016 NSAF Indoor Nationals New York, New York 1st 400 m 51.84 CR PB[68]
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:40.28 CR[69]
NSAF Nationals Greensboro, North Carolina 1st 400 m hurdles 54.46 CR PB[70]
USATF Junior Championships Clovis, California 1st 400 m hurdles 54.54
U.S. Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 3rd 400 m hurdles 54.15 PB
2017 NSAF Indoor Nationals New York, New York 1st 400 m 51.61 CR PB[71]
NSAF Nationals Greensboro, North Carolina 1st 400 m hurdles 54.22 CR[72]
USATF Championships Sacramento, California 6th 400 m hurdles 53.82 PB
2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships College Station, Texas 2nd 400 m 50.36 PB
5th 4 × 400 m relay 3:30.08
4th 200 m 22.80
NCAA Division I Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 400 m hurdles 53.96
4th 4 × 400 m relay 3:30.52
2019 USATF Championships Des Moines, Iowa 2nd 400 m hurdles 52.88 SB
2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 1st 400 m hurdles 51.90 WR
2022 USATF Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 400 m hurdles 51.41 WR
2023 USATF Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 400 m 48.74 WL MR PB

400 m hurdles progression

Year Time Location Date Notes
2014 55.63 Eugene, OR, United States July 6
2015 55.28 Lisle, IL, United States July 1
2016 54.46 Greensboro, NC, United States June 19
54.15 Eugene, OR, United States July 10
2017 54.03 Egg Harbor, NJ, United States June 2
53.82 Sacramento, CA, United States June 25
2018 53.60 Fayetteville, AR, United States April 28
52.75 Knoxville, TN, United States May 13
2019 52.23 Doha, Qatar October 4
2021 51.90 Eugene, OR, United States June 27 WR
51.46 Tokyo, Japan August 4 WR
2022 51.41 Eugene, OR, United States June 25 WR
50.68 Eugene, OR, United States July 22 WR

400 m progression

Year Time Location Date Notes
2014 54.36 Plainfield, NJ, United States May 14
54.08 Toms River, NJ, United States May 24
53.78 Egg Harbor City, NJ, United States May 31
2015 52.59 South Plainfield, NJ, United States May 30
2016 52.44 Egg Harbor City, NJ, United States June 3
51.87 Berkeley Heights, NJ, United States June 8
2018 50.07 Gainesville, FL, United States March 30
2023 49.71 Paris, France June 9
49.51 New York, NY, United States June 24
48.74 Eugene, OR, United States July 8

Notes

  1. ^ Though her indoor 400 m time of 50.36 s was faster than the world under-20 record as recognized by World Athletics, it had not been ratified and was not listed as pending ratification as of June 2021.[57][58]

References

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Records Preceded byDalilah Muhammad Women's 400 m hurdles world record holder June 27, 2021 – present Incumbent Achievements Preceded byDalilah Muhammad Women's season's best performance, 400 m hurdles 20182021, 2022 Succeeded byDalilah Muhammad Preceded byFemke Bol Succeeded byFemke Bol Awards Preceded byCandace Hill USA Track & Field Youth Athlete of the Year 2016 Succeeded byJakobe Ford Preceded byYulimar Rojas World Athletics Female Rising Star of the Year 2018 Succeeded byYaroslava Mahuchikh Preceded byElaine Thompson-Herah World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year 2022 Succeeded byIncumbent