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Talk about a dream team: Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad, and Athing Mu came together in the women’s 4x400m final on Saturday to win gold in 3:16.85, nearly four seconds ahead of Poland who won silver in 3:20.53. Jamaica was third in 3:21.24.
“I don’t know if they’re just trying to flex…” the commentator said as Team USA got announced.
It’s true: All four women of Team USA had already made history at the Tokyo Olympics. In the final event on the women’s athletics schedule, they teamed up to do it again—together.
McLaughlin faced off against Team USA teammate Muhammad in the women’s 400m hurdles. The duo have traded top spots and world records over the years—setting a new world record in each of the last four races they have gone up against each other. This time it was McLaughlin to do it in 51.46 for gold. Muhammad broke it, too, winning silver in 51.58. It was the fastest 400-meter hurdle race in Olympic history.
Mu won gold in the women’s 800m, ending one of the longest droughts in Olympic women’s track events and becoming only the second U.S. woman to win the event Madeline Manning ran an Olympic-record 2:00.9 at the 1968 Mexico City Games 53 years ago.
And in her fifth and final Olympics, all-time great Felix won bronze in the women’s 400m final on Friday, finishing third in 49.46 and cementing her spot in history as the most decorated female track and field athlete.
- Sydney McLaughlin Wins Gold, Sets World Record in Olympics 400m Hurdles
- In Olympic Debut, 19-Year-Old Athing Mu Takes Gold in the 800 Meters; Raevyn Rogers Wins Bronze
- Allyson Felix Wins Bronze, Becomes Most Decorated Female Olympian in Track and Field History
The race was Team USA’s from start to finish. McLaughlin led for Team USA, getting out and rolling down the back straight to make up the stagger on everybody in the field, running a 49.96 split. She handed off to veteran Felix, who ran a smart and in-control leg in 49.58—Poland making up a bit of time and Jamaica pushing hard in third, but not enough to inch in on Felix. Muhammad in third created a huge gap on the dominant Poland team running 48.97 before handing off to 19-year-old Mu, who brought it home with her effortless grace with a split of 48.34.
“I think we were excited,” McLaughlin said after the race. “An amazing group of women right here, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I think we all just knew going in it’s going to be fast and just have fun.”
With this win and her total 11 medals, Felix now stands alone the most decorated track and field athlete, man or woman, passing Carl Lewis at 10.
“You know, I just came out really at peace, and wanting to soak it all in,” Felix said after the race. “All of us in the team have achieved a lot in the individual events and I wanted to be able to run with these women and to win gold with them. I think that this is a really special team because we’re not 400-meter runners—I don’t see myself as a 400-meter specialist. We all do different things and it was really cool to come together, to get to close out the Olympic Games and, for me, my Olympic career.”
The moment, and it’s significance, was not lost on Muhammad. “I was just honored when they told us who the four were,” she said after the race. “Of course [Allyson Felix] earned it, but she’s so deserving of it too; I’ve been inspired by her throughout my entire career, and I’m really just honored to have been a part of this team with her on her last Olympics. I think we’re going to look back at this and just think about how special this moment really was.”
Mu, who was just two years old when Felix won her first Olympic medal, said it was especially great to be with Felix as the young superstar was just starting off her career.
“I’m astonished by everything she does, even coming out here at her last Games,” Mu said after the race. “Knowing her story a little more, knowing that everything is more than just track and field for her, that’s just definitely inspiration. It makes us all want to figure out more about ourselves and let our stories be heard.”
For McLaughlin, she’s thrilled to think this could become a group that a younger generation looks up to. “It’s an honor to be able to run with all these women,” she said. “They were inspiration to me. It is great to think we will be an inspiration to kids who are looking up to us.”
You can see the full race results here.