Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone looking for gold again in 400-meter hurdles

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone made a world-leading effort look easy, securing a spot in Sunday’s 400-meter hurdle final at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and leading what could be one of America’s strongest events in Paris.

McLaughlin-Levrone, the reigning gold medalist and world No. 1, barely broke a sweat in the semifinals Saturday with a 52.48-second effort to advance to what promises to be a scorching final Sunday at Hayward Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

An even-tempered McLaughlin-Levrone promised to “let it fly” in this meet’s last event, set for 8:29 p.m. ET.

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She will surely be pushed by Anna Cockrell, who recorded a personal best 52.95 in the semifinals to earn her spot in the final.

In contrast to McLaughlin-Levrone’s businesslike demeanor, Cockrell couldn’t contain her joy about breaking the 53-second mark for the first time.

“It means I’m ready,” she said. “It tells me what we’ve been working for in the past is working. I’m pleased, I’m pleased.”

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone competes in the women’s 400-meter hurdles semifinal on Saturday.Patrick Smith / Getty Images

The power-packed field in Sunday’s final also includes Tokyo silver medalist Dalilah Muhammad and Shamier Little, who won her heat on Saturday.

Tokyo silver medalist Keni Harrison, Rio silver medalist Nia Ali and Alaysha Johnson, who recorded the best semifinal time of 12.36 seconds, will compete in the women’s 100 hurdles at 8 p.m.

Rai Benjamin, who won silver in Tokyo, and CJ Allen will run the men’s 400 hurdles at 8:20 p.m. They turned in the top two semifinal times — 47.97 seconds and 48.16 seconds, respectively.

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