Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin smashed her own world record as she stormed to victory in the women’s 400m hurdles at the World Championships in Oregon on Friday.
The 22-year-old American prodigy left rivals trailing in her wake at Hayward Field as she took gold in a stunning time of 50.68sec, the first time any woman has ducked under the 51-second barrier.
The US track star obliterated her world record at Hayward Field in Eugene to power home in 50.68sec, slicing more than half a second of her previous world mark of 51.41sec set last month.
Femke Bol of the Netherlands took silver in 52.27 while defending champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States took bronze in 53.13.
“Honestly I just wanted to go for it,” McLaughlin said afterwards.
“The last 100 really hurt, but I’m grateful to have this crowd. Go Team USA!”
Bol and Muhammad would have had realistic hopes of challenging McLaughlin for gold before the race.
But McLaughlin was in a league of her own almost from the gun, surging clear of Muhammad with a blistering opening 200m and coming off the final bend several meters clear of her rivals.
Any fears that McLaughlin had gone out too hard over the opening 300 were wiped out down the home stretch as she kicked for home with a vengeance, powering through the line to complete one of the greatest performances in track and field history.
Her astonishing winning time was faster than the seventh and eighth-placed times in the women’s flat 400m final raced earlier Friday.
McLaughlin sat crouched on the track after her win, seemingly in disbelief at the scale of her own achievement.