“Sky’s The Limit,” warns world record holder Sydney McLaughlin

World record holder Sydney McLaughlin warned after breaking her 400m hurdles record on Friday that “the sky’s the limit” but then hinted she may switch events. The American clocked a stunning 50.68 seconds for gold at Hayward Field, erasing her own world record by more than half a second. But there were immediate questions about a potential transfer, with McLaughlin thinking it would all come down to what plan her renowned trainer Bobby Kersee could come up with.

“Bobby and I have been talking about possibly looking at other events,” McLaughlin admitted.

“But I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I think we’ll figure that out at the end of the season … if we want to change events or stick with the 400m hurdles.”

Asked if a move to the flat in the 400m was possible, McLaughlin said: “I think anything is possible … but I’m leaving it in the hands of my coach Bobby.

“My coach thinks there’s still a lot to do,” she said. “The sky is definitely the limit.”

The 22-year-old looked stunned as she made her way through the line in front of a partisan, wailing crowd.

“I was just trying to process the lactic acid!” she said of the few moments she spent in quiet reflection in the chaos all around her.

“I just took a moment to really enjoy what I was doing. So many times a race goes by and you forget what happened. I really just wanted to sit there for a while and soak it all in before I get into it madness. it follows.”

Flow state reached

McLaughlin, who also won Olympic gold in Tokyo last year in what was then a world record, denied it was a perfect race.

“I couldn’t watch it. So I’ll have to go back and do it and talk to my coach,” she said.

But she added that she encountered a type of “flow state.”

“You put everything you’ve done in practice into the race to the point where you want to let your body do what it does,” she said.

“I mean, I don’t think about it, you just unleash the gifts and talents that God has given you. And I think this is the best race I’ve ever run, it’s the one where I can freely unleash the gift that I’ve been given.

“But I think there’s always a way to improve. I think as a sport we’re pushing the boundaries, especially in our event, of what’s possible in this race. So I definitely think there’s always more time that can be shave, eg of course.”

Crediting her Christian faith, support staff and self-control, especially when it comes to social media, for her poise and continued success, McLaughlin said she enjoyed competing in “big stage races because she knew the crowd was packed and I had a really great the women I race with.”

“The biggest thing for me was having friends and family here after Tokyo had no one last year,” she said of the Japanese capital’s Covid-19 regulations.

“It was really wonderful to have a reunion in the US where my whole family could be, and it was definitely a lot more enjoyable for me.”

McLaughlin also basked in the spotlight brought on by her success in the 400m hurdles.

“We definitely had more eyes on our event this year than ever before,” she said.

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“But I think that’s what makes it amazing, that we’ve taken an event that really wasn’t very popular and turned it into a seminal event in the sport.

“So yes, there are a lot more eyes, but I think that’s what our sport needs to continue to grow is events that are really competitive.”

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Ferdinand Medina

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