In the course of 51.90 seconds Sunday at the US Olympic track trials, Sydney McLaughlin won the women's 400-meter hurdles, set a world record, and positioned herself as the favorite in the Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old's time was 51.90 seconds, topping Dalilah Muhammad's previous record by .26 seconds, CNN reports; no woman has ever run the event in less than 52 seconds. "It's one of those moments you think about and dream about and play in your head that you'll put it together," McLaughlin said, per the AP. She's faced Muhammad in three straight major, world record-setting races now over two years. In the first two, the world record was set by Muhammad. McLaughlin's times were stellar, and one of them would've been a record if Muhammad hadn't beaten her. "Dalilah is a great competitor, and I was growing into my own person," McLaughlin said about the series.
"She definitely pushes me," said Muhammad, who is also headed to Tokyo next month. McLaughlin changed coaches earlier this year, to Bobby Kersee, who has his own record of success. He's coached Allyson Felix, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Florence Griffith Joyner. McLaughlin changed her preparation for this season, scheduling five 100-meter hurdles events before competing in her first 400-meter hurdles three weeks ago, per NBC. "I'm really happy I chose to go with" Kersee, she said. The race Sunday night was delayed for about four hours because of the heat in Eugene, Oregon, which also was a record: nearly 110 degrees, with a reading on the track approaching 150. After the race, Muhammad congratulated McLaughlin. "It's going to be a battle in Tokyo for sure," Muhammad said. (On the men's side, a 17-year-old made the team.)