Campus News

UK Alumna Sydney McLaughlin Wins Olympic Gold in World Record Time

photo of Sydney McLaughlin running hurdles for UK in SEC competition
n one season at UK, Sydney McLaughlin was the 2018 NCAA Champion in the 400m hurdles and SEC Champion in the 400m dash (indoor), 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay.  Photo by UK Athletics.

TOKYO (Aug. 4, 2021) — University of Kentucky track and field alumna Sydney McLaughlin of Team USA won gold in the Olympic 400-meter hurdles with a new world record of 51.46. 

The previous world record also belonged to McLaughlin after she ran 51.90 at U.S. Olympic Team Trials. 

"Just trust in the process, giving the glory to God," McLaughlin told NBC's Lewis Johnson. 

"It's all the season, hard work, dedication, and just really grateful to be able to represent my country and just have this opportunity."

The Wildcat from Dunellen, New Jersey, finished with the fastest time of semifinals with a time of 53.03, closely followed by Team USA teammate Dellilah Muhammad, who went on to win the silver medal. 

"Is this the example of iron sharpening iron?" Johnson asked. 

"100%," McLaughlin responded. 

McLaughlin ran for UK in the 2017-18 season before becoming a professional runner. In one season at UK, she was the 2018 NCAA Champion in the 400m hurdles and SEC Champion in the 400m dash (indoor), 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay. 

She was also a five-time All-American, collegiate record-holder in the 400m hurdles (52.75) and finalist for the Bowerman Award.  Prior to running for UK, McLaughlin ran in the Rio 2016 Olympics. 

McLaughlin's gold medal-winning performance joined two more UK track and field alumnae who have won medals in Tokyo, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Keni Harrison

Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico ran an Olympic record in the 100m hurdles for the gold medal, closely followed by Team USA's Harrison for silver. 

Daniel Roberts of Team USA ran about 30 minutes before McLaughlin, placing fifth in his semifinal heat of the 110m hurdles. He will not advance to the final. 

Follow along with UK Track and Field on FacebookInstagramTwitter and at

Read more on all 22 Wildcats competing in the delayed 2020 Olympics here.  

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.