Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will not run 400m hurdles at World Championships

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will not run 400m hurdles at World Championships

There will be a new 400m hurdles world champion crowned at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest. The reigning world and Olympic champion, Sydney McLaughlin-Levronerevealed she will only run the 400m flat at next month’s championships, despite an automatic 400m hurdles qualifying spot from winning the world title last year.

McLaughlin-Levrone’s coach, Bobby Kersee, confirmed her plan to the LA Times on Wednesday. Kersee said in May that McLaughlin-Levrone’s race plans for worlds in Budapest would be decided after the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships; McLaughlin-Levrone won the women’s 400m at the US trials in a personal best and world-leading time of 48.74 seconds, her first time breaking the 49-second mark for one lap of the track.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone
McLaughlin-Levrone wins the 400m in 48.74 seconds at the 2023 USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Photo: Kevin Morris

Kersee told the LA Times that the world championships schedule was not conducive to running both the 400m and 400m hurdles. The heats of the 400m hurdles start two hours and 20 minutes before the 400m semi-finals on Monday, Aug. 21. Otherwise, the two events do not overlap.

McLaughlin-Levrone’s rival, Femke Bol, from the Netherlands, who is also the 400m indoor world record holder, is planning to double in the 400m and 400m hurdles. Bol finished as runner-up to McLaughlin-Levrone’s world record of 50.68 in the 400m hurdles in Eugene last year, and has never won gold at Worlds or the Olympics in the discipline.

Femke Bol destroys longest-standing world record in track

No man or woman has medaled in both the flat 400m and the 400m hurdles at the same world championships.

McLaughlin-Levrone said last fall that she wanted to add the flat 400m to her program to see what she could do. All five of her races this season have been in the 400m; most recently, she ran the second-fastest time ever by an American to win the national title. She has not raced the 400m hurdles since Aug. 8 of last year.

The 23-year-old had a wild card spot into the 400m hurdles at worlds as defending champion, so with McLaughlin-Levrone dropping it from her schedule, this will allow another American onto the team.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and her team and family at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Photo: Kevin Morris

Kersee also said that no decision has been made on which event(s) McLaughlin-Levrone will pursue for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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