Skip to main content

Sydney McLaughlin, 16, becomes youngest U.S. Olympic track athlete

Sydney McLaughlin made her first U.S. Olympic track team at 16 years old.

Your teams. Your favorite writers. Wherever you want them. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS (iOS or Android)

EUGENE, Ore. — Sydney McLaughlin finished third in the women’s 400-meter hurdles Sunday at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials to become the youngest member of the national track and field team headed to Rio at just 16 years old.

Dalilah Muhammad took the victory in 52.88 and Ashley Spencer took second in 54.02. McLaughlin narrowly edged Kori Carter at the finish line in 54.15 for a world junior and world youth record.

Emma Coburn was the youngest runner at the 2012 Olympics when she competed at 21. McLaughlin, a junior at Union Catholic High School in New Jersey, is the first 16-year-old to qualify for the Olympic track team since Rhonda Brady qualified in the 100-meter hurdles in 1976. 

High jumper Vashti Cunningham, the 18-year-old daughter of NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, qualified for the Olympic team with her runner-up finish last Sunday.

McLaughlin will turn 17 on Aug. 7, which is two days after the opening ceremonies and five days before track and field competition starts on Aug. 12.

Lashinda Demus won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, but did not compete at the 2016 trials due to injury. World championship silver medalist Shamier Little lost in the semifinals on Friday.