McLaughlin ‘threatens’ Koch’s impossible record from 37 years ago

Sydney McLaughlin is an alien. Her impressive world record of 400 hurdles at the Eugene World Championships with 50.68, 73 hundredths below the record she herself had held since the Trials, is one more example of the New Jersey phenomenon who, despite her youth (23 years old), She is already double Olympic gold in Tokyo (400 hurdles and 4×400) and triple world champion (400 hurdles and 4×400 in Doha, and 400 hurdles in Oregon). Now, The North American has decided that history is here to break it and has made a great decision: to start running the 400-meter dash as well.

The ultimate goal on the horizon is to break the oldest track record for both men and women, dating back to 1985. East German Marita Koch stopped the clock 37 years ago in 47.60. The time is so incredible that since that date no woman has run closer than half a second of that time. The other female who broke the 48-second barrier, the Czech Jarmila Kratochvilova, did 47.99 in 1983. If anyone can ‘threaten’ these brands, it is McLaughlin, who in the 4×400 relay of the World Cups was key in the US gold with his 47.91, the seventh fastest reliever in history and the second in the last 33 years behind his compatriot Allyson Felix.

“I don’t think we’re going to give up the 400-meter hurdles just yet, but we definitely want to expand into the 400-meter sprint and see what I’m capable of doing there,” McLaughlin, who got married on Sept. 25, tells NBC Sports. A decision that his coach Bobby Kersee had already slipped into the same medium before: “That world record has stood for a long time and no one has come close to it. We want to be able to test and see what Sydney can do.” McLaughlin has never run a 400 individual in a competitive competition and his personal best is 50.07 in 2018, when he was a freshman at the University of Kentucky.

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Koch is on the horizon… but it’s not the only feat he can accomplish. Could he do a double at the World Cups in Budapest next summer? Difficult because the heats for the first round of the 400 hurdles will start 2 hours and 20 minutes before the semifinals of the 400 sprint, but another song may be at the 2024 Paris Games when for the first time in Olympic history none of the rounds of those races will take place on the same day. Of course, it would still be a challenge since I would have to run six consecutive days… and a seventh if the 4×400 is added. In line with McLaughlin, it should be noted that the Dutch Femke Bol achieved two gold medals in those same tests at the European Championships in Munich 2022 (plus the relay) after being second in the World Cup hurdles behind McLaughlin, although at the very distant distance of 1.73 .

Only twice in the history of the Games has an athlete won a medal in the 400 and 400 hurdles, both at the 1904 St. Louis Games when Americans Harry Hillman and Frank Waller shared gold and silver in both events. Obviously in a limited participation that has little to do with the current elite. The third goal that he pursues, this one could last even less time, It is the 48.70 established in 2006 by Sanya Richards-Ross, Olympic champion in London 2012, as a US record. In Eugene 2022, the world title went to the Bahamian Miller-Uibo with 49.11.

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