Sydney McLaughlin smashed her own world record as she punched her ticket to the World Championships with victory in the 400m hurdles on Saturday / © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
Sydney McLaughlin punched her ticket to the athletics World Championships with a world record 51.41sec victory in the 400m hurdles at the US trials on Saturday.
McLaughlin shaved five-hundredths of a second off the world record of 51.46 she set in winning Tokyo Olympics gold last August 4, delivering a dominant performance at Eugene's Hayward Field that saw runner-up Britton Wilson cross the line more than a second back in 53.08sec.
Shamier Little was third in 53.92. The trio will represent the United States on the same Hayward Field track in July -- when reigning World Champion Dalilah Muhammad also aims to defend her title.
With a bye as champion Muhammad -- who beat McLaughlin in Doha in 2019 but took silver behind her in Tokyo -- received a waiver to skip the trials to recover from a hamstring injury.
McLaughlin showed she didn't need her great rival to push her to new heights in this championship season.
Her performance capped a day of 11 finals and a farewell to the US championships for Olympic great Allyson Felix -- 21 years after she ran in her first.
Felix finished sixth in the 400m, making her almost certain to earn consideration for a relay at the World Championships.
Felix is calling time on a career that includes 29 world and Olympic medals -- including seven Olympic golds.
After a gritty semi-final performance to earn a place in the final, Felix -- greeted by a massive ovation -- clocked 51.27sec.
Talitha Diggs, daughter of four-time Olympian Joetta Clark-Diggs and the NCAA collegiate champion, used a powerful finishing kick to win the women's 400m in 50.22, overhauling early pace-setter Lynna Irby and Kendall Ellis in the final 20 meters.
Ellis took second in 50.35 and Irby was third in 50.67.
Michael Norman, seeking World Championships gold to help expunge the memory of a disappointing fifth-place finish at the Tokyo Games, delivered an emphatic victory in the men's 400m with a world-leading 43.56sec.
NCAA collegiate title holder Champion Allison broke 44 seconds for the first time, taking second in 43.70, with Randolph Ross third in 44.17.
World record-holder Keni Harrison won the 100m hurdles in another world-leading time of 12.34sec. Alaysha Johnson was second in 12.35 and Alia Armstrong was third in 12.47.
World champion Nia Ali opted out of the final but will complete the formidable US contingent in the event next month.
In other events, world 200m champion Noah Lyles clocked 19.95sec to top the first-round times, and revealed he was rebounding from a bout with Covid.
- Lyles leads 200m heats -
Lyles said he learned after his win in New York on June 12 that he had coronavirus, not realizing until after the event that his muscle soreness and chills were symptoms of illness.
"To be honest I'm so in shape I'm not too worried about it," Lyles said.
Erriyon Knighton, who owns the fastest time in the world this year of a 19.49, was second-fastest in the heats in 20.08.
Reigning 100m world champion Christian Coleman advanced to the semis with a time of 20.13 but said he still wasn't sure if he'd pursue a 100-200 double at worlds.
Fred Kerley, who dazzled with a 9.76sec semi on the way to winning the 100m on Friday, booked his 200m semi-final spot with a time of 20.29.
Abby Steiner, coming off a world-leading 21.80sec to win the NCAA collegiate title this month, topped the women's 200m heat times in 22.14sec.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Gabby Thomas, who owns the third-fastest time in history, made it safely into the semis with the seventh-quickest time of the day 22.59.
Sha'Carri Richardson, who shockingly failed to advance from the 100m heats on Thursday, also advanced with a time of 22.69 -- finishing second to Thomas in their heat.
Reigning world champion and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Grant Holloway and Devon Allen stayed on course for a 110m hurdles showdown with the top two times in the heats.
Holloway, whose American record of 12.81 is one one-hundredth off the world record, won his heat in 13.11sec, second-fastest of the round ahead of recently crowned NCAA champion Trey Cunningham's 13.13.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Allen, who stunned Holloway with the third-fastest time in history of 12.84sec in New York two weeks ago, won his heat to qualify third-fastest in 13.27.