Sydney McLaughlin chose college over Olympics
Sydney McLaughlin is an American hurdler and sprinter who competes for the University of Kentucky. She holds many records and even won Gatorade National Girls Athlete of the Year twice. So why did McLaughlin give up the pro’s for college? “I wanted the experience of being a college kid,” she says. “To walk on a campus, live on my own, get experiences to mature as a person and in the sport.”
Just in June she she ran a national high school record 49.85-second 400-meter relay split. So why did this 18-year old track star chose college over riches? Sydney’s popularity heading into her senior school year accumulated the attention of classmates who came to campus with questions for her.. “What was it like to run in Rio?” and “How high are those hurdles you’re jumping?” McLaughlin was also drawn to UK because of 100 meter hurdle record holder Keni Harrison. Harrison is still coached by Kentucky coach Edrick Floreal, and has expressed interest in possibly switching to the 400 hurdle, McLaughlin’s signature event, in the future. McLaughlin could have easily turned pro. Her relay splits rank her among the best flat 400m runners in high school history, and her 54.15 400H at the Olympic Trials was a world junior record. She was eliminated in the semifinals at the Olympics, but was still the youngest American track Olympian in over 40 years. She was 16 when she qualified at the Olympic Trials, and 17 when she competed in the Olympics. McLaughlin and her coach have been setting goals and meeting them every year and making the 2018 Olympic team is the next long-term goal.