TOKYO - An Olympic final showdown between American rivals Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad took shape on Monday, as both rolled through the women's 400m hurdles semifinals.
World record-holder McLaughlin outclassed the field in her race to win in 53.03 seconds, while world and Olympic champion Muhammad clocked 53.30 to comfortably qualify, despite a torrential downpour that descended on the stadium.
"It's one of those things you can't control. You've just got to address it," McLaughlin told reporters. "That's what spikes are for. I'm just glad I could run the usual way. My spikes don't come out of my shoes, so we're good there."
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She hopes to improve upon her 51.90-second world record performance at the U.S. team trials in June, when she beat Muhammad's mark of 52.16.
The Netherlands' Femke Bol, who posted the second-best time of 2021 in July and has been undefeated in the event in the 2021 Diamond League season, also advanced after winning her heat in 53.91.
Denmark's Sara Slott Petersen crashed to the track after hitting her eighth barrier, though she will probably appeal after appearing to have been nudged by American Anna Cockrell, who went on to qualify for Wednesday's final.