Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the world record-holder in the 400-meter hurdles, demonstrated her exceptional range by securing a dominant win in the women’s 200-meter race at the LA Grand Prix in Westwood, California, on Saturday. In a stunning display, McLaughlin-Levrone left her competitors behind, highlighting her triumphant return to top form.

The reigning Olympic champion in the 400-meter hurdles strategically opted for a shorter distance, facing off against notable athletes like Olympic bronze medalist Gabby Thomas and 2022 national champion Abby Steiner. From the outset at UCLA, McLaughlin-Levrone was ahead of the pack. By the first turn, she had already established a clear lead, maintaining her pace through the final stretch to clock a personal best of 22.07 seconds, the second-fastest time recorded globally this year. Steiner finished second in 22.23 seconds, with Brittany Brown close behind at 22.35 seconds.

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Following an injury-interrupted 2023 season, McLaughlin-Levrone’s performance in the 200 meters underscored her remarkable speed and resilience. Using the race as part of her preparation for the 400-meter hurdles, she aimed to enhance her speed and turnover. Speaking to NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson after the race, McLaughlin-Levrone expressed satisfaction with her performance, though she aspired to break the 22-second barrier. “For the second 200, I think it was pretty acceptable,” she said. “I was hoping to go under (the 22-second barrier), but that just takes practice and getting used to the sprint form, so I’m happy with it.”


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Last year, McLaughlin-Levrone focused on the flat 400 meters, winning the U.S. title with a time of 48.74, the second-fastest in American history. However, a knee injury forced her to withdraw from the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Her return this season has been promising, starting with her participation in the 4×100-meter relay at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 20. She continued to impress with times of 12.71 seconds in the 100 meters and 22.38 seconds in the 200 meters at the Occidental Invitational in early May.

McLaughlin-Levrone’s coach, Bobby Kersee, confirmed their plans to compete in the 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, aiming to defend their Olympic title. At the Tokyo Games, McLaughlin-Levrone won gold in the 400-meter hurdles with a world record time of 51.46 seconds. She then lowered her world record to 50.68 seconds at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. She is expected to face stiff competition from Femke Bol of the Netherlands, the reigning world champion and second-fastest woman ever in the event.

As the Paris Games approach, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone appears ready to continue her record-breaking journey, showcasing her extraordinary talent and determination.