Sydney McLaughlin Broke Her Own World Record. Again.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Sydney McLaughlin was challenged whenever she planted herself in the starting blocks for the 400-meter hurdles. 

She knew she would face stiff competition from the likes of Dalilah Muhammad, a graceful runner with an impressive list of achievements.

For the past couple of years, however, McLaughlin has lifted herself to a different level. 

She has repeatedly smashed the world record to smithereens, rendering her rivals — none of them slouches — into background noise as she pushes the boundaries of what seems possible in her profession.

Already the reigning Olympic gold medalist, McLaughlin on Friday night broke the world record for the fourth time in two years, demolishing a deep and decorated field in 50.68 seconds to win her first world championship.

Femke Bol of the Netherlands was second in 52.27 seconds, and Muhammad finished third in 53.13.

For the indefinite future, McLaughlin’s only real battle appears to be with the clock: When will she break the world record next?

Some context might help. Consider that McLaughlin would have defeated two of the women who advanced to Friday’s 400-meter final — while clearing 10 hurdles. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

Consider, too, that she trimmed 0.73 seconds from her previous world record, which she had set 27 days earlier at the U.S. championships.

“I think we’re all figuring out that, yes, there are 10 barriers, but we can run them a lot faster than people think,” she said, adding: “I still think that wasn’t even a super clean race.”