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Sydney McLaughlin Eliminated in 400m hurdles; Muhammed to Finals

Union Catholic High School senior Sydney McLaughlin couldn’t shake off her sickness, finishing fifth in her heat of the 400m hurdles, outside of the Olympic final. Dalilah Muhammed of New York qualified for the final easily.

McLaughlin qualified in the last spot in the preliminary heats as a lucky loser, struggling through her first ever international race. Her time in the semifinals of 56.22 in the semis was only .1 faster than her prelim time, and it wasn’t nearly enough to make the final.

Even though McLaughlin is only 17 years old, the bid wasn’t a fluke; she was considered a dark horse contender for a medal, after posting the seventh fastest time in the world earlier this year. However, she simply looked outmatched in her event, on the world’s biggest stage. The other runners seemed to simply overpower her. In her first run, she looked like a high school hurdler, stuttering her steps before each obstacle.

She cleaned up the act slightly in the semis, but it wasn’t nearly enough, and her running wasn’t strong enough to bail her out. Even after each of her races, it seemed as if she couldn’t get over how much stronger and faster the other women were, looking at them as the sport’s stars, rather than her own peers.

As long as nothing goes wrong physically, there’s no reason to believe that she won’t make the 2020 Olympics at age 21 as on America’s rising stars, but nothing is certain, making her finish even more disappointing. After an exhausting year that saw her meteoric rise during her junior year of high school, McLaughlin will need time to recover. She still probably won’t even make an international appearance as she finishes up her career at Union Catholic, but she has every opportunity to improve, and she brings immense promise for American Track & Field.

In the final semifinal, Dalilah Muhammed was able to make the event final, easily as expected. Muhammed owns the fastest time in the world this year, making her the overwhelming favorite to win gold in the final on Thursday. She posted the fastest overall time yet again, .46 seconds ahead of the next fastest hurdler. Teammate Ashley Spencer made the final as well, but she isn’t expected to medal in the event. Muhammed is easily America’s best hope in the event final.

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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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