The U.S. Olympic trials went out with a bang on Sunday, as Sydney McLaughlin broke the world record in the women’s 400-metre hurdles in 51.90 seconds and world champion Noah Lyles won the men’s 200m in a world-leading 19.74.
The 21-year-old McLaughlin seized control of the lead around the turn and into the stretch, defeating world champion Dalilah Muhammad, 31, who finished second in 52.42 and had held the previous world record of 52.16.
“I think great competition always pushes you. It helps to have such an amazing camp of women in the U.S. to get those times,” said McLaughlin, who works with six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix’s coach, Bob Kersee.
“With my training we were able to put one together. I’m excited for what the future holds.”
Muhammad’s second place finish will allow her a chance to defend her 2016 Olympic title, with Anna Cockrell, 23, also booking her ticket to Japan after finishing third in 53.70.
It was a breakthrough evening for Lyles, 23, who won the men’s 200m after failing to make the cut in the 100m earlier in the trials and finishing second and third behind 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton in the first round and the semi, respectively.
“To be honest I relaxed. I let my body do what it does. I know I was asking for a lot,” said Lyles.
Kenny Bednarek, 22, finished second in 19.78, while Knighton clinched third in 19.84.
Teen Athing Mu – who prior to the trials had never competed as a professional – won the women’s 800m in 1:56.07, the second-fastest time ever by an American woman in the event, after overcoming a near-trip early in the race.
Raevyn Rogers, 24, finished second in 1:57.66 and Ajee Wilson, 27, took third place in 1:58.39. The duo previously picked up silver and bronze, respectively, at the 2019 World Championships.
In the men’s 1500m, 20-year-old Cole Hocker clinched a surprise win over reigning Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz, clinching the race in a personal best 3:35.28 but falling short of the Olympic standard, casting doubt on his chance of competing in Japan.
The final day of competition, much of which had to be pushed into the late hours as temperatures reached a record 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius), was a fitting end to several days of blockbuster performances that began with Ryan Crouser crushing the 31-year-old shot put world record.