Massive congratulations going out to 16-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, from New Jersey in the United States who is the youngest athlete to make the U.S. Olympic track team in decades after finishing third in the 400-meter hurdles at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
“Sometimes, I just forget that I’m 16,” McLaughlin told AP. “There’s not as much expectation. You know, I don’t get paid for this. I’m here just for fun.”
McLaughlin finished behind winner Dalilah Muhammad and Ashley Spencer in a junior world record time of 54.15 seconds.
The last 16-year-old to make the team was Rhonda Brady, a 100-meter hurdler, in 1976, USA Today reported.
According to ESPN, McLaughlin overcame a severe panic attack before her first-round race. The athlete called it a “mental breakdown,” fearing that she didn’t belong. But one of her opponents at the trials, fourth-place finisher Kori Carter, said it was obvious that McLaughlin, had the right stuff.
“She’s a beast,” Carter told USA Today. “She’s the truth. I was in every single heat with her, and she carries herself like a pro. I know she’s going to represent the U.S. amazingly.”