TOKYO – For a long time, the track and field community viewed Sidney McLaughlin as a prodigy. Her achievements were viewed primarily in the context of her age. That changed in June, when she broke the US Olympic Trials world record, and it will change again now that she won Olympic gold. World Olympic gold medalist – to claim the title. The New Jersey native crossed the finish line in 51.46 seconds, breaking her own world record by 0.44 of a second, and Muhammad came in second with a time of 51.58 seconds, also beating the previous record. “It didn’t shock me yet,” said McLaughlin, the Dutchman, who won bronze at 52.03. “Maybe I’ll eat some food and take a nap.” The gold medal comes five years after McLaughlin made his Olympic debut in Rio, at the age of 16. It was an amazing feat for a rookie in high school, even though she didn’t make the final. And when it was over, she went back to her final year at Union Catholic High School, just trying to be a normal kid. The US at the Tokyo Olympics: We’ll Be Your Official Guide to the Games via text After a stint at the University of Kentucky, McLaughlin became a professional and found herself climbing the ranks, but often second only to Muhammad. They have long been not only the two fastest women in the 400m, but also the fastest in the history of this event. Last summer, McLaughlin decided it was time for a change. I started training with a new coach, Bobby Kersey, and along with Allison Felix, one of the most celebrated track and field athletes in Olympic history. Kersey changed her approach and refined her style. In previous encounters this year, for example, McLaughlin competed in the 60m or 100m hurdles, just to practice various hurdles techniques, and it paid off in Olympic trials, setting a world record of 51.90. It paid off again Wednesday, with an Olympic gold medal and a new world record. Connect with Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.