Tokyo 2020 - US track and field athletes lay down a marker ahead of Olympics - McLaughlin, Lyles and Thomas excel
Sydney McLaughlin smashed the 400m hurdles world record to make herself favourite for Olympic gold at the trials in Eugene, Oregon, while Gabby Thomas ran the third fastest 200m ever. Noah Lyles set the best 200m time in the world this season, while 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton broke Usain Bolt’s under-20 200m record - as Americans showed they will be tough to beat in Tokyo.
'Gosh, it sounds nice!' - Lyles on being called an Olympian after qualifying for Tokyo
Team USA’s track and field athletes showed they will take some beating at Tokyo 2020 after records were smashed and new world leading times were set at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
Setting the standard was Sydney McLaughlin, who obliterated the 400m hurdles world record by 0.52 seconds, beating previous holder Dalilah Muhammad in 51.90 seconds. The 21-year-old world silver medallist in the event described her achievement as a “dream” come true and makes her favourite to beat her US rival in Japan.
On the final day of competition, double world champion Noah Lyles set a new world leading time in the 200m this year, clocking 19.74 seconds ahead of Kenny Bednarek. It also looks like there is a new American sprint star emerging, after 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton, who came third, broke Usain Bolt’s under-20 record over the distance in the semi-finals by coming in at 19.88 seconds.
Earlier on in the weekend, Gabby Thomas raced the third fastest 200m ever in 21.61 seconds. Only Florence Griffith Joyner has won quicker times over the distance. The 24-year-old has never won a major international medal and admitted afterwards that she was “shocked” by her performance.
Grant Hollway missed the 110m hurdles world record by just 0.01 seconds in the semi-finals on the way to winning the event, while Rai Benjamin became the second fastest ever over the 400m hurdles, finishing 0.05 seconds off Kevin Young’s world record set in 1992.
Away from the American trials, Jamaica’s double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce ran her fastest ever 200m at the age of 34, running 21.79 seconds on top of a 100m time of 10.71 seconds earlier in the weekend. She has now confirmed her place in both events for Tokyo.