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Sydney keeps all guessing

Paris Olympics & the movers and shakers
Sydney McLaughlin.
Sydney McLaughlin.
File Photo

AP/PTI   |   Eugene   |   Published 27.07.22, 04:18 AM

Yes, she brought the record in her 400m hurdles race down by nearly three-quarters of a second at the World Championships, to a once-unthinkable mark of 50.68 seconds. But it was her run in the women’s 4x400 relay that might really get people wondering.

The Paris Olympics start two years and two days from Sunday’s close of the World Championships in Eugene. McLaughlin is 22, with plenty of work yet to do in the hurdles, she said. But she also hinted that the 400-flat, or even the 100 hurdles, could be in her future. How far in her future will be one of the most intriguing storylines between now and Paris. What feels certain is that she can be a top contender in any discipline she chooses.

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Here are a few other things to look forward to in track and field between now and the meet at the Stade de France in 2024:

Lyles vs Knighton

The quiet and humble Erriyon Knighton vs the charismatic and confident Noah Lyles. This is shaping up to be a 200- metre rivalry that could last for quite some time. In one lane, there’s Knighton, the 18-year-old from Florida who could’ve been a standout football player but chose track. He prefers to do his talking with his spikes. In another, there’s two time world 200-metre champion Lyles, the 25-year-old from Virginia by way of Florida who’s dealt with mental health issues in a public way and just broke the American record. He’s not afraid to stir the pot, like when he pointed at Knighton after beating him at nationals. Both have the speed to be the next big thing in American track.

Jamaican supremacy

The order may change on the podium, but the destination of the medals does not. Jamaican women continue to own the sprints. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce led the island country’s sweep of the 100 metres. Led by Shericka Jackson and her second-fastest time ever, the first nation of speed also took gold and silver in the 200. When Usain Bolt hung ‘em up after the 2017 worlds, the focus on the island shifted back to the women, who had dominated in the pre-Bolt era, too, with the likes of Merlene Ottey and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Ukraine

Ukraine brought 22 athletes to Oregon and they left with two medals — a silver from high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh that came an evening after her high jump compatriot, Andriy Protsenko, won bronze. In a best-case scenario, the war will be over by 2024. If not, each sport sets requirements for participating in events, including the Olympics, but the IOC will certainly have a say about whether Russians can compete against Ukrainians in Paris.



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