American hurdler and sprinter Sydney McLaughlin gave glory to God after setting a new world record in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, saying her faith helped lead her to victory.
McLaughlin, 21, set her goal on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics as she competed in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field 400-Meter Hurdles Trials in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday. Not only did she make it on the team for the Tokyo Olympics, but she also set a world record with a time of 51.90 seconds, becoming the first woman ever to complete the hurdles in less than 52 seconds.
“All the glory to God,” McLaughlin told NBC Sports after her victory.
McLaughlin managed to beat the reigning U.S. Olympic and world champion, Dalilah Muhammad, who set the record in 2019 at the 400m hurdles at 52.16 seconds. This year, however, Muhammad finished second, which also qualified her for the Olympic team. The two women will go head to head for the gold in Tokyo.
“Dalilah’s a great competitor,” McLaughlin said in another post-race interview.
Although McLaughlin was asked if she ever felt frustrated trailing behind Muhammad in the past, the young athlete said her faith made all the difference in this race.
“I think I was growing into my own person. And I think the biggest difference this year is my faith, trusting God and trusting that process, and knowing that He’s in control of everything. As long as I put the hard work in, He’s going to carry me through. And I really cannot do anything more but give the glory to Him at this point.”
McLaughlin is very outspoken about her Christian faith on social media.
In an Instagram post from February, McLaughlin boldly testified that she chose to place her future in God’s hands.
“We can laugh at whatever lies ahead because we know HE has already won,” McLaughlin wrote. “We can sleep easier at night knowing HE has a plan for whatever may normally trouble us. We can laugh at anything that doesn’t fit the purpose for our lives, because we know God’s plan is greater.”
Following her victory on Sunday, McLaughlin likewise took to Instagram, this time sharing a photo of herself at the finish line with her hand over her mouth.
“The face of a woman who is in awe of God (Prayer hand emoji) 51.90,” she celebrated. “I could feel this meet was going to be something special… but MAN. Weeks like these are some of the hardest in a track athletes (sic) life. The mental strain of preparing for the rounds in order to solidify your spot is heavy enough. But the amount of weight the Lord took off my shoulders, is the reason I could run so freely yesterday.”
She added: “My faith was being tested all week. From bad practices, to 3 false start delays, to a meet delay. I just kept hearing God say, ‘Just focus on me.’ It was the best race plan I could have ever assembled. I no longer run for self recognition, but to reflect His perfect will that is already set in stone. I don’t deserve anything. But by grace, through faith, Jesus has given me everything. Records come and go. The glory of God is eternal. Thank you Father.”
This victory marks the second time McLaughlin will represent the U.S. at the Olympics. She also competed at the 2016 Rio Games when she was 17, but did not make it past the semifinals. McLaughlin will now be in the first round of the women’s 400m hurdle competition at the Tokyo Games starting July 31.