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“Don’t Give Them Too Much Respect”: Facing Sydney McLaughlin at LA Grand Prix, Paris Olympic Favorite’s “Confidence” Remains Unflinching

Published 05/14/2024, 9:36 PM EDT

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Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone dropped her season opener a few days ago at Oxy Invitational in Los Angeles. Despite coming from a long gap because of injury, she did not let anyone feel the lack of preparation in her showdowns in 100m and 200m. Eventually, in both races, she remained victorious with stunning timings. However, her next track and field challenge may give her a stiff battle as her competitor is coming with all guns blazing. 

As per the schedule, Sydney will head to the LA Grand Prix this weekend for her next race contest and there she will face Rhasidat Adeleke, the Irish track and field sensation. Rhasidat recently hinted that the upcoming contest won’t be a humble affair. Rather, in her conversation with Irish Star.com, Rhasidat said, “Don’t give them too much respect and let them run away from you. I’m going to go in there open minded and see what I can do. I surprise myself every time.” Such a raging mood has helped her in the past. 

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Recently, in the Bahamas, the 21-year-old sprinter helped both her national 4x400m meters relay and mixed relay teams earn the Paris Olympics ticket. Furthermore, Rhasidat has also punched above her weight by defeating Dina Asher-Smith this season. The British Olympic medalist had to see the better of Rhasidat Adeleke in the 100m contest at the Texas Invitational.

There, Rhasidat finished her race in wind-aided, 10.84 seconds, compared to Dina’s 11. 10-second timing. Surprisingly, the same race witnessed the world indoor champion Julien Alfred stopping behind Rhasidat Adeleke. Such performances have helped Rhasidat amp up confidence. 

The former European U20 champion said, “The past couple of weeks have given me confidence that I can compete against anybody in the world and once you have confidence, I feel like you can take anybody down.” Seemingly, the upcoming contest is going to be hard for Sydney Mclaughlin-Levrone. But her effort indicates setting herself up for the 200m event, eyeing the Paris Olympics. 

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Country mate to challenge Sydney Mclaughlin-Levrone in unknown territory 

The 400m sprinting bracket has been proving to be Sydney Mclaughlin-Levrone’s backyard throughout the years. She has two Olympic gold medals in both hurdles and relay events under the 400m category. But now, the 24-year-old sprinter is showing signs to extend her reign, beyond the 400m affairs. 

Previously, in the LA Grand Prix, Sydney had been listed to participate in the 400m hurdles event. But later, she changed her event, siding with the 200m sprint. But this event will land her in front of another heavy hitter apart from Rhasidat Adeleke.

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Gabby Thomas will be all up to prove her mettle there. Over the years, Gabby has proved herself in the 200m event, earning laurels in Olympic and world championship platforms. But both American sprinters have never crossed each other in the 200m event. So, with Rhasidat, Gabby Thomas will also face Sydney Mclaughlin-Levrone for the first time in the 200m event. Furthermore, Gabby will have to settle a score with Sydney. 

In the 400m event of the NYC Grand Prix last year, Sydney marched past Gabby Thomas, winning the top podium. The LA Grand Prix will be the first encounter between these two American sprinters after that contest. So, a revenge match is on the platter. However, the hurdler is not thinking about such facts. Rather, she sticks to her Paris Olympics goal. “I just want to be better than I was in Tokyo,” she once conceded.

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Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty

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Prasun Chakrabarty is an Olympic Sports Writer for EssentiallySports, who specializes in covering aquatic arena events. Post his experiences with prominent publications, Prasun began his days in ES, by actively covering two prime events - 2023 US Open Swimming Championships and the 2024 TYR Pro Swim Series. Prasun's coverage extends beyond the pool, and he takes specific interest in the progress of the triangular rivalry between track and field stars, Sha’Carri Richardson, Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
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Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury