American track gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin was noticeably absent on social media in the weeks leading up to the Tokyo Olympics. That was on purpose.
McLaughlin’s only interactions on Twitter before Thursday were a few retweets from her cover story with L’Officiel USA. On Instagram, she posted the same L’Officiel cover and a video promoting the Jonas Brothers making an appearance on NBC.
That was it.
With the talk of mental health awareness heating up in the days before the Olympics, McLaughlin admitted she broke off her social media interactions to focus on what was important.
“I think when you have a lot of outside voices coming in, it can definitely alter what you have going on internally,” she said, via The New York Times. “The more I can distance myself from that, the more I can stay as calm and as relaxed as possible.”
She added: “A lot of that is outside things I can’t control and I just tried to minimize it. I stayed off social media, stayed in my room, talked to friends and family and stuck to what I knew.”
McLaughlin came from behind to run down fellow American Dalilah Muhammad after the very last hurdle. She clocked in at 51.46 – breaking a world record. Muhammad finished with a 51.58, which also broke the original world record, but she finished behind the 21-year-old New Jersey native.
It is McLaughlin’s first Olympic gold medal. She had won gold in the 2019 World Championships in the 4×400-meter relay and a silver in the same competition in the 400-meter hurdles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.