Home / Sports / Rio 2016: N.J. teen Sydney McLaughlin (barely) clears her initial Olympic hurdle
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Rio 2016: N.J. teen Sydney McLaughlin (barely) clears her initial Olympic hurdle

RIO DE JANEIRO — Sydney McLaughlin was articulate about her Olympic knowledge in a past tense. She pronounced she was beholden for a opportunity, even if she finished fifth in her 400-meter hurdles heat. She pronounced she was happy to paint her country, even if she did not run her best race.

She pronounced she was prepared for a subsequent section in her life, that meant a few some-more days enjoying life in a Olympic Village and before drifting behind home to Dunellen to ready for her comparison year during Union Catholic.

“School’s starting soon,” she said. “I have to start my summer reading. we consider that’s subsequent on my agenda.”

Yeah, about that reading list …

A humorous thing happened during Olympic Stadium on Monday night. Just when all wish seemed to be mislaid for a New Jersey line luminary on a stormy night in Brazil, a charge clouds unexpected parted. No, McLaughlin was not one of a 3 involuntary qualifiers in her heat, though a other 6 fastest runners also would allege to a semifinals.

When McLaughlin finished her race, in 56.32 seconds in a initial of 6 heats, it seemed approaching that other runners would fill those spots. Then Heat 2 came and went, and nothing of a non-qualifiers did better. Same with Heat 3. Two runners surfaced it in Heat 4 and one did in Heat 5, though McLaughlin was still sitting flattering in one of those 6 positions.

13 cold things about Sydney McLaughlin 

That set adult a thespian final race. When nothing of a non-qualifiers surfaced her time in Heat 6, McLaughlin’s name was changed into Tuesday’s semifinals and half of Union County went crazy.

Say this about McLaughlin: Even when she’s not during her best, she certain has a aptitude for a dramatic. 

“It’s sparkling to be here, though it’s also a small intimidating,” she had pronounced moments after her race. “A lot of people have finished this before and are some-more gifted to me, though usually to be here during my age representing my nation is amazing.”

McLaughlin didn’t usually have to understanding with a jitters. A pushing sleet charge left a line soaked, and her competition was a initial one after a brief continue delay. She also is battling a cold that sapped her energy, and that was a cause when she ran out of gas in those final few meters. 

And afterwards there’s this: She’s 17 and during a freakin’ Olympics!

“There was so most to routine and overcome during one time,” she said. “I’m not quite happy with my performance, though whatever happens, happens. If we qualify, great. If not, great.”

It positively did not demeanour promising. Running in a second line of a initial heat, McLaughlin was gratified with her start though struggled to find a stroke early. She had approaching a subordinate feverishness to be slower than it was, so a discerning gait held her off guard.

“My start was good, a behind true was a small bit messy and we should have left out a small bit harder,” she said. “The final straight, we consider we spent so most appetite perplexing to get behind in a competition that a final 100, we didn’t have anything left.”

McLaughlin, who usually incited 17 final week, was competing in a feverishness where a normal age was roughly 25. The other runners knew what McLaughlin certified she did not: That each feverishness in a Olympics is a enclosure fight.

Rust competence have been a factor, too. For McLaughlin, it was her initial competition in 36 days given she crushed a universe youth record at a Olympic trials on Jul 10. She became a youngest American line and margin Olympian given 1972 that day, and really, nothing’s been normal since.

She was named Gatorade Female Athlete of a Year, an respect that came with her photo on a bottle of a entire appetite drink. She attended a ESPYs, a annual sports awards showcase, and afterwards hoped to get some normalcy into her life before nearing here final week.

That’s when normalcy went out a window. 

“It’s so overwhelming,” he said. “It’s been so much. You eat subsequent to people you’re going to competition against, universe champions and Olympians. It hasn’t strike me nonetheless that I’m here. There’s so most to take in during one time.”

Watch Union Catholic go nuts for McLaughlin

She thought, in a moments after her initial Olympic race, that she’s have copiousness of time to take it all in. She talked about attending a line events as a witness and anticipating a bravery to deliver herself to some of a iconic athletes she has bumped into in a Olympic Village.

Of course, that’s when she suspicion her Olympic entrance was over.

“Sometimes we have to remove to be means to comprehend when we win,” she said. “I consider we won in a fact that we got to come here and compete. we didn’t get to run a competition we wanted to though we still got all a experience.”

Less than an hour later, she found out a good news: Her Olympic knowledge was not over. She has another competition on Tuesday, another possibility to extend this crazy summer. 

Sorry, though that summer reading list is going to have to wait.  

Steve Politi might be reached at spoliti@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevePoliti. Find NJ.com on Facebook. 

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