Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone Explains Why She Chose The 400m For Worlds

By Chris Chavez

July 20, 2023

400m hurdles world record holder and Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone has decided to run the flat 400m instead of defending her 400m hurdles title at next month’s world championships in Budapest.

Here’s what you need to know:

– McLaughlin-Levrone is running the 400m at the Monaco Diamond League on Friday, July 21.

– At the pre-race press conference, she was asked what led to the decision.

“For this year, being able to take a step away from the hurdles and work on just the flat speed was huge for us,” she said. “Being able to get faster flat and then being able to come back and incorporate the hurdles. This was the perfect year to try and do it and have some fun with it. For Worlds, that’s just what we’ve been doing all year. We want to see where we can progress to. We’ve continued to lower my time with each meet that we’ve run so that’s been amazing. Hopefully, we’ll just continue to do that all the way through worlds and see what happens.”

“Just the conversion from hurdles to flat kind of showed that we can run where we are right now and there’s still more room to grow. It’s been great. It’s been awesome seeing it come to fruition after all of the training and stuff. The first few races were a little wonky but we’re starting to get the rhythm of it.”

– She described herself as a “freshman” in the 400m and said, “I definitely have a few years to go before I can call myself a professional at it. It’s definitely new and challenging for sure. I definitely have a lot more to learn.”

– McLaughlin is coming off a victory at the U.S. Championships 400m final in 48.74, which is the second-fastest by an American woman in history. Only Sanya Richards-Ross’ 48.70 from 2006 is faster. McLaughlin-Levrone is No. 10 on the all-time list.

“The best way to learn is through doing it,” she said. “For me, in each round, I feel like we continue to get better and better and learning how to run the 400m. I think patience is the biggest thing for sure. It’s not always going to come when you want it. You have to be patient with it and understand that this is new. Give yourself some grace in learning that this is something that you’re not used to.

What’s next:

McLaughlin-Levrone has the fastest season’s best of the field in Monaco. She will be challenged by Ireland’s Rhasidat Adekele, who just turned professional after winning the NCAA title in the 400m while at Texas, and Barbados’ Sada Williams, who earned a bronze medal at last year’s world championships and a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Kenya’s Mary Moraa, the world championship bronze medalist in the 800m, is also entered.

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.