American sprint legend reveals what makes Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone special

American sprint legend reveals what makes Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone special

Mark Kinyanjui 19:31 - 18.06.2024

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone has already set world leads in the 400m, 400m hurdles and the 200m so far this season.

American sprint legend Justin Gatlin has expressed his admiration for Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, describing her as a genuinely generational talent in sprinting.

The 24-year-old is the 2020 Tokyo Olympic champion with a Games record and the 2022 World champion with a world record time of 50.68 seconds in the 400m hurdles. 

She currently holds the world leads in both the 400m flat race and the 400m hurdles, and briefly held the lead in the 200m following her dominating performance at the LA Grand Prix.

Gatlin has implored fans to pay keen attention to McLaughlin-Levrone, who he believes is destined for greatness.

He stated on his Ready Set Go podcast, “I want everyone in the audience to pay attention because you are witnessing a remarkable athlete of our generation."

Gatlin praised her performance at the LA Grand Prix, noting her potential to set new records and win races across multiple events. 

He remarked, "Sky’s the limit for her. I mean you running 22 and 0 against a very solid field. And you have one of the fastest times in the world right now and you want to go back into a race that you have previously dominated which you’re going to probably most likely smash a world record again at some point in time or she can drop down to the 400. 

“Hell, the time she just ran the 200 I’ll put a little money on her too to go out there and win some races she got the mental toughness to get it done.”

Gatlin further complimented McLaughlin-Levrone, comparing her to other top sprinters like Shericka Jackson, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Sha’Carri Richardson, and Gabby Thomas, suggesting she could hold her own in a star-studded lineup and possibly even come out on top.

Over a span of 13 months, she set four world records, becoming the first woman to break the 52-second (June 2021) and 51-second (July 2022) barriers in this event. She also won a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships and gold medals in the women's 4 × 400 m relay at all three competitions.

At 15, McLaughlin-Levrone was the 2015 World Youth champion. In 2016, she was the youngest athlete since Denean Howard in 1980 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic track team, placing third at the U.S. Olympic Trials with the then-world under-18 best of 54.15 seconds, also a world U20 record at the time. 

She currently holds the world U20 record of 53.60 seconds, with a junior personal best of 52.75 seconds (not ratified), both set in 2018. 

She remains the only woman to break the 51-second barrier in the 400m hurdles, holding a nearly one-second advantage over the next best performer on the world all-time list—the largest current difference between the world record and the next best performer in this event.

 She has six out of the nine fastest times on this list and was the 2019 Diamond League champion.

In 2022, McLaughlin-Levrone was voted World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year

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