With the announcement of Sydney McLaughlin to compete in the 100-meter hurdles, Penn Relays has added another big-name Olympic competitor to its schedule.
McLaughlin comes fresh off winning two Olympic gold medals at the Tokyo Games this past summer in the 400m hurdles and 4x400-meter relay. In winning the 400m hurdles with a time of 51.46 seconds, she broke her own world record by 0.44 seconds.
Since the Olympics, McLaughlin has yet to compete again, so the Penn Relays will serve as her first competition since her historic run in Tokyo. She was scheduled to hit the track on April 15 in a distance medley relay in Boston, but pulled out due to a minor hamstring injury. With the World Championships right around the corner in July, the 100m hurdles at the Penn Relays will be a crucial tune-up race.
McLaughlin previously competed at the Penn Relays in 2017 as a high school senior at Union Catholic, where she anchored the high school 4x400 and ran a 50.78s time. On top of bringing her team back from eighth place to third, McLaughlin set the Penn Relays record for a high schooler in the event.
“This is the oldest, biggest, most exciting meet there is, so to be able to get my team out here as a senior,” McLaughlin said at the time. “It’s just a great feeling to know I’m running with my teammates and my best friends.”
This time around, McLaughlin will run alone, likely as the favorite for the 100m hurdles, though she’ll face some stiff competition. Two-time Olympian Shermaine Williams will also be in the field, and, although she may not match McLaughlin's medal count, the event is her specialty. McLaughlin is still proficient in the 100m, however, with a personal best of 12.65 seconds set in May of 2021, which Williams has yet to match over the course of her career.
McLaughlin and Williams won’t be the only Olympians competing at the Penn Relays over the weekend, as 11-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix, two-time Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu, Olympic gold medalist Omar McLeod, and Olympic silver medalist Rusheen McDonald are all set to race as well.
The Penn Relays will kick off on Thursday and will progress through Saturday, where McLaughlin will compete at 2:12 p.m.