TOKYO, Japan — World record holder Sydney McLaughlin will bow into action for the first time at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Saturday when she competes in the heats of the women’s 400m hurdles. Please click here to see the startlist of the women’s event.
The American will race competitively for the first time since shattering the world record with a dominant 51.90 seconds run at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, last month and she will start as the overwhelming favorite to win the gold medal at these Games.
However, McLaughlin will need to navigate through the opening rounds of the event first, starting with the first round as she lines up in her second straight Olympics, following her debut appearance in Rio 2016.
The standout American switched coaches to work with Bobby Kersee and she believes the decision has paid off.
“All of the glory to God,” McLaughlin said in her post-race interview after the world record run. “Honestly this season, working with my new coach and new support system is truly about faith and trusting the process.”
The 21-year-old world silver medalist will start from lane five in heat three where she will be up against Olympic silver medalist Sara Slott Petersen of Denmark.
Leah Nugent of Jamaica and Great Britain’s Jessie Knight will also start in the same heat.
Defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad will start the defense of her title from the fifth heat and although she’s competed sparingly this season, the American is confident that she’s peaking at the right time ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Muhammad, the world record holder with 52.16s before McLaughlin bettered that mark, heads to Tokyo with a season’s best of 52.42s, which she used to finish second at the U.S. Trials.
Meanwhile, Dutch star Femke Bol, the second-fastest in the world this year with a PB of 52.37s, is undefeated in the event this season and after some exciting performances on the European circuit, the 21-year-old will be hoping to extend that form in Japan.
Bol will race in heat four on Saturday and will face off with Ronda Whyte of Jamaica and Jessica Turner of Great Britain.
Elsewhere, in the women’s 400m hurdles heat at Tokyo 2020, Ukraine’s national record holder and 2018 European silver medalist Anna Ryzhykova headlines the list of starters in heat two and she comes in with a time of 52.92s, the fifth-fastest time in the world this year. Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell of Jamaica will be among the athletes taking on Ryzhykova in the heat.
Anna Cockrell of the United States, Viktoriya Tkachuk of Ukraine, and Norway’s Amalie Iuel are among the top starters in the first heat.
The heats of the women’s 400m hurdles at Tokyo 2020 will open the schedule on Day Two and will start at 9:00 a.m. local time, which is 8:00 p.m. ET in the United States.