Report29 Jun 2024

McLaughlin-Levrone breaks world 400m hurdles record at US Trials


Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone after setting a world 400m hurdles record at the US Olympic Trials (© Getty Images)

The record books were rewritten on the final day of the US Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday (30). Championship records fell in every track event final, culminating in Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone breaking her own world record* in the women’s 400m hurdles.

McLaughlin-Levrone stunned with her time of 50.65, improving on the previous record by 0.03. Crowds have now witnessed her break the world record at Hayward Field four times throughout her career.

“I think there’s something really exciting about trying to figure out how to improve upon history in whatever capacity that looks like,” McLaughlin-Levrone said. “That always is something that I’m looking at, and I’m just grateful that thus far we’ve been able to continue to do it.

“I would love to dip under 50 at some point,” she said when asked how fast she thought she could go. “I don’t know if that’s this year, I don’t know if that’s next year, but always chipping away, seeing what’s possible, and continuing to just improve.”

With her win, McLaughlin-Levrone confirmed her place on her third Olympic team.

“I don’t think it ever gets old, I think it’s like reliving that childhood dream over and over again,” she said. “It’s a really hard team to make so I don’t take it for granted and I don’t take it lightly. I just want to do the best that I can and represent Team USA.”

Behind her, Anna Cockrell and NCAA champion Jasmine Jones ran PBs of 52.64 and 52.77 respectively to punch their tickets to Paris. Shamier Little was fourth in 52.98, marking the first time four women have finished inside 53 seconds in any 400m hurdles race in history.

Olympic silver medallist Rai Benjamin ran a world-leading 46.46 to win the men’s 400m hurdles.

“It’s going to be phenomenal in Paris,” said Benjamin, who holds the North American record of 46.17. “One meet at a time, one round at a time, and if the conditions are right, and the circumstance is right, there’s gonna be fireworks.”

CJ Allen finished second in 47.81 and world bronze medalist Trevor Bassitt was third in 47.82, both season’s bests.

World indoor fourth-place finisher Masai Russell had the race of her life in the women’s 100m hurdles, running a world-leading 12.25 to set a championship record and move to fifth on the world all-time list.

“It was just confirmation that I’m exactly where I need to be,” Russell said. “I told myself that I deserve to win, I deserve to be here, I deserve to be an Olympian… I’m an Olympic Trials champion and I’m ready to be an Olympic champion next.”

Joining Russell in Paris will be 2023 US indoor champion Alaysha Johnson, who was second in a PB of 12.31, and NCAA champion Grace Stark, who clocked the same time in third. 2019 world champion Nia Ali (12.37) and former world record-holder Keni Harrison (12.39) were fourth and sixth. It was the first time in history that six women have finished inside 12.40 in a 100m hurdles race.

An electric men’s 800m saw all three of the podium-finishers run under 1:44. World indoor champion Bryce Hoppel ran a nearly half-second PB of 1:42.77 to break Johnny Gray’s long-standing championship record of 1:42.80.

Hoppel’s time is the fourth-fastest in the world this year and elevates him to third on the US all-time list. World road mile champion Hobbs Kessler, Hoppel’s training partner who earlier in the week qualified for the Olympic team in the 1500m, ran a PB of 1:43.64 to place second. Brandon Miller finished third in 1:43.97.

The women’s 1500m final was historically deep, with the top eight athletes all running personal bests and finishing inside four minutes. World indoor silver medallist Nikki Hiltz crossed the line as champion in 3:55.33, a PB by more than four seconds that moves Hiltz to second on the US all-time list.

World indoor bronze medallist Emily Mackay was second in 3:55.90 and world indoor 3000m champion Elle St Pierre was third in 3:55.99. St Pierre also qualified in the 5000m, but told reporters she would likely only be competing in the 1500m in Paris.

Bridget Williams, Katie Moon, and Brynn King all cleared 4.73m to form the podium in the women’s pole vault, with their placings determined on countback. Pan-American Games champion Williams was first, with defending Olympic champion Moon second and King earning a PB (and the Olympic qualifying standard) in third. Olympic silver medallist and two-time world indoor champion Sandi Morris was fourth with 4.68m.

Grant Fisher, the winner of the men’s 10,000m, added the 5000m title to his name on Sunday, winning in a championship record of 13:08.85.

NCAA champion Salif Mane launched into the lead with his very first attempt in the men’s triple jump final and never looked back. He secured the win and the Olympic qualifying standard with a PB of 17.52m.

Elsewhere, world indoor silver medallist Shelby McEwen cleared 2.30m to win the men’s high jump, while world finalist Daniel Haugh claimed victory in the hammer with a season’s best of 79.51m.

Maggie Malone Hardin won the women’s javelin on her first attempt with a championship record of 64.58m. 2022 world silver medallist Kara Winger, who recently came out of retirement, was second with 62.94m.

Jessi Gabriel for World Athletics

*Subject to the usual ratification procedure

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