From Philly to Tokyo

From Philly to Tokyo: Record-Breaking Track Star Sydney McLaughlin Runs for Gold

Making her debut at the Olympics in 2016 as the youngest U.S. Olympian to compete in track and field, New Jersey native Sydney McLaughlin is hurdling for gold in Tokyo

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From her early days as a high-school GOAT at Union Catholic to breaking world records during the Olympic Trials, 21-year-old Olympic hurdler and New Jersey native Sydney McLaughlin is one of the biggest stars expected to strive for a gold medal in Tokyo.

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Jersey born and raised, McLaughlin was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, before being raised in Dunellen. She attended Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains before attending college at the University of Kentucky.


McLaughlin holds a record for the women’s 400m hurdles at Union Catholic High School with a time of 1:04.4 seconds and holds the national high school freshman record for her time of 55.63 seconds.

In 2016, at just 16, McLaughlin became the youngest track and field athlete to make the U.S. Olympic team since 1980. She now, at age 21, holds the world record in the women’s 400m hurdles with a time of 51.90 seconds. 

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McLaughlin is the daughter of Willie and Mary McLaughlin. She has two brothers, Ryan and Taylor, and one sister, Morgan.


McLaughlin graduated from Union Catholic High School in 2017 and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2021.


McLaughlin is coached by Bobby Kersee. Kersee has coached a handful of gold medal Olympians, including his wife, Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.


McLaughlin is sponsored by New Balance and Gatorade.


This Olympics, McLaughlin will go toe-to-toe with long time teammate Dalilah Muhammad. Muhammad, 31, competed against McLaughlin in the Rio Olympics and was able to bring home gold for Team USA in the women’s 400m hurdles. 

Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad are two of the best hurdlers in the world, but there is often a fine line between teammates and competitors, and in Tokyo this summer, it is one those two will be hurdling once again.

McLaughlin has broken Muhammad’s existing record for women’s 400m hurdles, making her the only woman in history to run the event in under 52 seconds.

The women’s 400m takes off on Friday July 30 at 9 a.m. JST in Tokyo (8 p.m. EDT).

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