16-Year-Old Sydney McLaughlin Makes Olympic Team With World Junior Record

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Behind a blistering pace and meet record set by Dalilah Muhammed, high school junior Sydney McLaughlin broke the 400 hurdles world junior record and clinched an Olympic berth. Muhammed ran 52.88 to become the No. 5 American performer of all time, Ashley Spencer finished second after running three full rounds in the 400 and the 400 hurdles, and McLaughlin ran 54.15 to break the decade-old world junior record.


Footage courtesy of NBCOlympics (http://liveextra.nbcsports.com) and USOC

Muhammed torched the field early, but McLaughlin was part of a large group fighting for the last two spots over the last three hurdles. Spencer grabbed second out of lane seven and McLaughlin, in the middle of the track, beat Kori Carter by 0.3 for the last ticket to Rio.


McLaughlin still has another year of high school left and doesn't turn 17 until the week before the Olympic track meet starts. She already held the American junior and high school records, and lowered those marks tonight. Her older brother Taylor qualified for the men's 400 hurdles semifinals earlier in the meet. Both McLaughlins are or were students at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

The times ran by Muhammed, Spencer, and McLaughlin rank them as the Nos. 1, 5, and 6 performers in the world this year. But performers 2 and 4--Shamier Little and Georganne Moline--did not make it through the Trials. So out of athletes headed to Rio, Muhammed, Spencer, and McLaughlin rank Nos. 1, 2, and 4. All three have a great shot at a medal.

McLaughlin is the youngest American track Olympian since 1972, though 16-year-old Carol Lewis qualified for the 1980 Games and would have been 16 during the Olympic long jump. But the United States boycotted the meet, as it was held in Russia.

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USA Olympian Paul McMullen Has Died

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Paul McMullen, the 1996 USA Olympic Team Trials 1500m champion who would run a lifetime best of 3:33.89 for that distance five years later, has died according to several people prominent in the track and field community in Michigan where McMullen, grew up, lived and attended college at Eastern Michigan University.  The cause of death was said to be a skiing accident which occurred in Northern Michigan, but no other details were yet available.  McMullen was 49.

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SPIRE Academy Student Athletes Train with the Best

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This story is sponsored by SPIRE Institute & Academy. SPIRE and its expert coaches, teachers and performance trainers offer residential camp and academy training programs in basketball, track and field, swimming, esports and drone racing.

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