Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone Nearly Breaks 400-Meter American Record At NYC Grand Prix (2024)

At the NYC Grand Prix, spectators had the opportunity to see performances from the world’s best on U.S. soil. Noah Lyles, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, and Elaine Thompson-Herah were just a few of the headliners scheduled to race.

The meet took place soon after the premiere of the upcoming Netflix documentary “Sprint,” which will feature Noah Lyles and Sha’Carri Richardson, among other world and Olympic champions. New York City was the place to be this past weekend as a track and field fan.

Favour Ofili Defeats Olympic and World Champions, Elaine Thompson-Herah Sustains Lower Leg Injury

The women’s 100-meter dash was filled to the brim with world-class talent. The race included the world champion and Olympian Gabby Thomas, 60-meter American record holder Aleia Hobbs, 4x100-meter relay Olympic champion Morolake Akinosun, and most notably, the five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.

The race had blistering starts from Hobbs, Akinosun, and Ofili. Hobbs shifted into her eye-catching top-end speed, but this time, it wasn’t enough to hold off the former NCAA champion Ofili. This pair of former LSU Tigers demonstrated they are ready to compete against anyone as the season revs up.

Although Thompson-Herah began her season later than usual, many fans had faith that she would round into form in time for the Jamaican Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, during the race, Thompson-Herah sustained a lower leg injury. After crossing the line, she was carried off the track for further evaluation. There is no current word on how severe the injury may be, but Jamaican track fans are rallying together to support her speedy recovery.

Thompson-Herah is an Olympic veteran and has redefined success on that level. She is the defending Olympic champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash and has been since the 2016 games in Rio. If Thompson-Herah can heal quickly, she will be on track to defend her titles in three Olympic games in a row.

Noah Lyles Began His 200-Meter Dash Olympic Bid

In April, Noah Lyles began his outdoor season at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational. At that meet, he competed only in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay. Since then, his competitions have only consisted of the 100-meter and relays.

About a month ago, his biggest competition, Kenny Bednarek, ran the world lead in the 200-meter dash at the Doha Diamond League. His time was 19.67 seconds and a personal best. This time was faster than the time it took for him to earn his Olympic silver medal in Tokyo. After this, Lyles went to social media and told Bednarek he would take down that world lead at the NYC Grand Prix. In an interview closer to competition, Lyles mentioned he was looking to take down the Icahn Stadium record of 19.58 seconds that was set by Tyson Gay in 2009.

When Lyles lined up for competition, he faced less-than-ideal conditions. The first significant complaint from athletes was the starting blocks. Throughout the day, the blocks were slipping and wrongly indicating false starts. Additionally, some races had athletes running into almost seven-mile-per-hour headwinds. Despite the circ*mstances, Lyles attacked the race the best way he could.

Lyles won, crossing the finish line in 19.77 seconds. Although his time did not quite live up to his expectations, he is prepared to take down whoever gets in his way at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Gabby Thomas was another 200-meter athlete who looked in form before the Trials. At the start of the race, Olympic silver medalist Jenna Prandini got out well and was on track to control the field. As they approached the bend, Thomas pressed past the competition and won the event. She ran 22.42 seconds, and it would have easily been faster if she did not have to run against the wind.

Olympic silver medalist and world champion Fred Kerley was missing from the 100-meter competition. The race had to be reset several times due to persistent starting block issues. In a post-race interview, Kerley addressed why he decided not to race. He insisted that they change his blocks, but they did not want to adhere to his request. He felt it would be best not to compete if he did not have safe starting blocks.

Udodi Onwuzurike ended up reigning victorious, running 10.23 seconds. Onwuzurike is the 2023 NCAA champion in the 200-meter dash and recently signed a professional contract with Adidas.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone Runs Third Best 400-Meter in U.S. History, Sets New World Lead At 48.75 Seconds

Track and field is a sport where the best marks in the world can be taken down within hours or even moments of each other by athletes on opposite sides of the country or world. Nickisha Pryce from the University of Arkansas held the world lead for 20 hours before Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone took it down in NYC. Pryce set that previous world lead of 48.89 seconds at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

McLaughlin-Levrone said she only planned on competing in the 400-meter hurdles at the Paris Olympics. However, her speed shows she can be an Olympic contender in multiple events. At the LA Grand Prix several weeks ago, McLaughlin-Levrone set a personal best in the 200-meter dash at 22.07 seconds. Not only did she win, but she also beat Gabby Thomas and Abby Steiner, women who are strong contenders for medaling at the Olympics in the event.

After the LA Grand Prix, McLaughlin-Levrone went to the inaugural Edwin Moses Classic to contest the 400-meter hurdles. As expected, she ran a world lead and won in 52.70 seconds. Although she may not try to complete any doubles at this year’s Olympics, she may look to attempt them in the future. McLaughlin-Levrone is young and versatile enough to experiment with any number of event combinations at major championships. The question is less about whether she is physically capable and more about whether the Olympic or world championship schedule will allow her to contest them safely.

Eric Holt Almost Beats World Champion Jake Wightman, Highlights Difficulties For Unsponsored Athletes

During the 1500-meter run, fans labeled their favorites as the 1500-meter world champion Jake Wightman and the road mile world record holder Hobbs Kessler. This race came down to the wire and could have ended in a major upset. Wightman won the event in 3:34.01 but the most impressive performance was from Eric Holt, the unsponsored athlete who beat Kessler for second place. Holt ran 3:34.05, missing the chance to say he beat a world champion by a nose hair. His time was a personal best.

During his post-race interview with Citius Mag founder Chris Chavez, Holt highlighted several hardships he faces being an unsponsored athlete.

“I lose money in this sport. I don’t gain money,” said Holt.

He addressed how he pays for all his apparel and treatment, lives with his parents, and stopped working full-time to chase his Olympic and world championship dreams. Holt is currently the 5th fastest American in the 1500-meter this year.

Holt’s interview with Chavez has over two million impressions on X and has been seen by other professional athletes, such as Simone Biles. He hopes his message can reach the right people and help more world-class athletes get the funding they need to continue competing at a high level.

Track and field is, unfortunately, a sport where you can be a world champion and competitive at the highest levels but still be left without a contract.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone Nearly Breaks 400-Meter American Record At NYC Grand Prix (2024)

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