Tokyo: Sydney McLaughlin broke the world record. Dalilah Muhammad broke it, too. Only one of the world’s best hurdlers could win the Olympic gold medal — and McLaughlin came out ahead in the latest installment of the best rivalry in track.
The 21-year-old from New Jersey won the 400-metre hurdles title Wednesday, finishing in 51.46 seconds in yet another history-making day on the speedy Olympic oval.
“Iron sharpening iron,” McLaughlin called the latest in her series of showdowns with Muhammad, each one faster than the last. “Every time we step on the track, it’s always something fast.”
McLaughlin came from behind after the last hurdle to top the defending Olympic champion. Muhammad’s time of 51.58 also beat McLaughlin’s old record of 51.9, set at Olympic trials in June. But in this race, it was only good enough for the silver.
For McLaughlin, it was a muted celebration — in part, because traversing 400 metres while clearing 10 hurdles at 17 miles-per-hour is more exhausting than she makes it look. “There was some lactic” acid building up, she said.
Andre De Grasse, the Canadian who ran his first sprint in baggy basketball shorts and borrowed spikes, and now has an Olympic gold medal in the 200 meters.
De Grasse powered past a pair of Americans — Kenny Bednarek and the favorite, Noah Lyles — to finish in 19.62 seconds and take one of the titles that Usain Bolt had owned for the last three Olympics.
It ends a string of close calls for the 26-year-old and fills out a medal collection that was only missing a gold. De Grasse won bronze four nights earlier in the 100 to go with the third-place medal he took in Rio de Janeiro, as well. He also won a silver in the 200 there, though his stay in Brazil is best remembered for the time he had the audacity to mess with Bolt.
Wojciech Nowicki of Poland finally has a gold medal after winning the men’s hammer throw. The 32-year-old Nowicki led from the first round and improved with each of his first three attempts to reach a personal best 82.52 meters, the winning mark. He was a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and won bronze medals at three world championships.
Eivind Henriksen of Norway set a national record with a 81.58 throw in the fifth round and finished with the silver medal. Four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek of Poland took bronze with a mark of 81.53.
Emmanuel Korir won gold and led a Kenyan one-two finish in the 800 meters at the Olympics. Korir pushed his way past Australia’s Peter Bol on the last turn and surged home to win in 1 minute, 45.06 seconds. It was Kenya’s fourth straight victory in the 800 at the Olympics. Teammate Ferguson Rotich took silver with a late kick to overtake Poland’s Patryk Dobek, who held on for bronze ahead of Bol.
Women 400m Hurdles: 1. Sydney McLaughlin (USA) 51.46 (WR), 2. Dalilah Muhammad (USA), 3. Bol Femke (Netherlands); 3000m Steeplechase: 1. Peruth Chemutai (Uganda) 9:01.45s, 2. Courtney Frerichs (USA), 3. Hyvin Ken Kiyeng (Kenya)
Men: 800m: 1. Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir (Kenya) 1:45.06 s, 2. Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich (Kenya), 3. Patryk Dobek (Poland); 200m: 1. Andre de Grasse (Canada) 19.62s, 2. Kenneth Bednarek (USA), 3. Noah Lyles (USA)