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Sydney McLaughlin competes for Union Catholic High School in a 1997 track competition (Photo: John Haddad/Flicker).

The O’Toole Chronicles: Flow Time

By Kevin O'Toole, October 18 2022 12:01 am

It started in New Brunswick and I can’t say I’m surprised.

The success story of Sydney McLaughlin began on August 7, 1999, when she was born into this world and grew up in Dunellen and New Brunswick.

Sydney’s mom and dad were both track stars in their own right, and no one in Middlesex County would be surprised to see that Sydney is now a famous Olympian who gold medaled twice in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 400 meter hurdles and is on schedule to repeat that glory in the 2024 Olympics.

Sydney was a star athlete in her teens and was an unprecedented two-time winner of the Gatorade Player of  the Year in Track and Field. Sydney attended Union Catholic and she and her siblings were standout athletes in and out of New Jersey. Sydney has a number of world records and I suspect we will see more in her future.

Why the interest in the local athlete?

I saw an interview on ESPN where she was asked about what she attributed her success to. So naturally I was curious and began to read up on her. In the interview, Sydney responded by saying she believes in her Lord and her mentors and the rest takes care of itself. She went on to say that her faith and her mentors have helped her navigate on the big stage of life.

When a reporter asked her about this thing called “Flow State,” which helped her succeed, Sydney responded and said: “I put in the hard work and have faith and I allow the release of the gifts I’ve been given and before you know it the race is over.” We should all have this sense of calm and presence.

The lesson to be learned from Sydney is maybe more of us should rely upon the gifts we are given, the gifts we have developed from our faith, our support group and maybe the rest will just take care of itself.

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