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Volume 25 No. 151
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New Balance Signs Teenage Olympic Hurdler Sydney McLaughlin

McLaughlin, a '16 U.S. Olympian, turned pro after her freshman year at the Univ. of Kentucky
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

U.S. Olympic hurdler Sydney McLaughlin has "signed a contract with New Balance as her footwear and apparel sponsor," according to Nick Zaccardi of NBCSPORTS.com. The 19-year-old McLaughlin, who was the "youngest U.S. track and field athlete to compete at an Olympics in 44 years" when she raced at the '16 Rio Games, "turned pro after her freshman season" at Kentucky. She joins fellow Olympians Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn and Trayvon Bromell as New Balance endorsers. McLaughlin in July signed with WME for representation (NBCSPORTS.com, 10/15). FloTrack’s Lincoln Shryack noted anytime a “big caliber athlete chooses a brand other than Nike, it’s always a little bit of a surprise." However, it was a given that "everyone was going to be all in on Sydney McLaughlin.” McLaughlin wore New Balance while competing in the ’16 U.S. Olympic Trials, and it “just seems like she’s always been tangentially related to New Balance.” Noting other track stars who have signed with New Balance, it was always likely that the company was “going to have a heavy hand in the Sydney McLaughlin sweepstakes.” FloTrack’s Jenny Zahn noted McLaughlin is the type of athlete who can “change the entire landscape of fame and fortune for track and field.” Zahn: “She is going to be the face of this sport for the next four years at minimum.” Shryack said, “This is an investment for them. If she’s running and competing for Olympic medals in 2020 and 2024, and all the world championships in between … it’s going to be well worth it.” FloTrack's Kevin Sully said he thought New Balance may have “run out of money” after they signed sprinter Gabby Thomas earlier this month (FLOTRACK.org, 10/15).