Sydney McLaughlin to join likes of Serena Williams, LeBron James
New world record holder Sydney McLaughlin looks set to become the “face” of US track and field sports after blitzing the women’s 400m hurdles in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Just two days short of her 22nd birthday, McLaughlin executed an impeccable time of 51.46 seconds, narrowly beating fellow American Dalilah Muhammad, who also beat the old record with a time of 51.58.
While clearly at home on the track, athletics is far from the only field McLaughlin is dominating, with her personal brand having become a sought-after commodity among global companies.
Speaking with Time ahead of the Games, the star acknowledged she was part of a “new wave” of athletes to monetise their capabilities in a big way.
“It’s really important and it’s really cool to be a part of this new wave,” she said.
“It’s kind of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.”
The publication has her poised to become the “face of American track and field”.
McLaughlin’s professional athletic success has seen her secure an astonishing line-up of lucrative sponsorship deals, including with New Balance, Tag Heuer, Gatorade and Beats by Dre.
The gold medal winner has slowly risen to international notoriety since her Rio Olympics campaign, where at 17 years old, she was US athletics team’s youngest competitor.
McLaughlin went back to high school after the games, before competing in athletics at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, leaving in 2019 to turn professional.
She moved to Los Angeles to train at the University of California and employed a team of professionals to manage everything from her meals, finances, track schedules and endorsements, according to NJ Projects.
When the pandemic delayed the Tokyo Games by a year, she took on new coach, Bob Kersee, and the pair got to work with training six days a week for 11 months straight.
According to McLaughlin’s Olympic profile, she began training at 9.30am for two hours, before taking a two-hour break, then completing up to 90 minutes of weight training.
She would then typically receive other sport treatments for up to two hours, before doing it all again the following day.
McLaughlin revealed in a 2019 interview with Athletics Weekly that track was something she felt compelled to do after competing for the first time as a six-year-old
“Stepping on the track when I was younger, it just came naturally, it gave off a feeling of belonging and effortlessness, feeling like that’s what I was supposed to do,” she said.
Outside of athletics, McLaughlin enjoys herself a spot of baking, poetry writing, listening to music and watching movies, she told L’Officiel magazine.
With hype surrounding her incredible talent at an all-time high, many have speculated McLaughlin will be one of few athletic icons able to cross seamlessly between fashion and sport.
“Track stars don’t sell shoes. But Sydney McLaughlin is a huge crossover star that can mix fashion and social like we’ve never seen from an elite runner,” one fan remarked on Twitter.
Her rise to superstardom is expected to soon place her among the world’s most influential athletes including Serena Williams, LeBron James and Tiger Woods.