Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad duel in the 400-meter hurdles.
The women’s 400-meter hurdles final on Wednesday morning in Tokyo is one of the flagship events of the athletics competition. Two Americans, Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin, renew their rivalry with an Olympic gold medal at stake.
At the US trials in June, McLaughlin broke Muhammad’s world record to finish first. But Muhammad is still the reigning Olympic and world champion, and his mechanics are pure art.
McLaughlin finished in 51.90 seconds in practice, becoming the first woman to run the race in under 52 seconds. Muhammad, who had finished second in 52.42 seconds, ran towards her in celebration.
McLaughlin, 21, was still in high school when she qualified to compete in the 2016 Olympics, and was celebrated as a rising prodigy. In Rio de Janeiro, she qualified for the semi-finals before being eliminated at 17. Today, she is the favorite of a talented event.
Muhammad, 31, has faced challenges since breaking her own world record – and edging out McLaughlin – at the 2019 world championships. She was hampered by hamstring injuries and said she had tested positive with Covid in February.
“It definitely impacted my training,” she said in June. “But I kind of regained my fitness when I needed it. “
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