In a recently posted video, U.S. Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin opened up about the “toxic” nature of fame and the pain she’s felt as those around her have rejected her because of her faith in Jesus.
McLaughlin, 22, filmed the video after the Olympic Trials, which were held in Eugene, Oregon, in late June, but didn’t share it until this week.
In the candid video, McLaughlin shared details of her own struggles just days after setting the world record time in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field 400-meter hurdle. Despite pulling off the lifelong dream, she said she was hurt by the negative feedback and lack of support she received.
“Not even three days ago, I literally achieved one of my life’s dreams of breaking the world record, and I’m going to be honest, a lot of the people around me did not respond how I thought they would,” she said. “Man, in a moment like that, where these are moments you remember for a lifetime, these are opportunities that you don’t get every single day. I felt like the people I thought would be excited for me literally almost didn’t even care.”
She said it “hurts” not knowing “when it’s going to be enough for a lot of people,” adding she’s “worked really hard, and been very cautious of how I carry myself, of the things that I post because I want to glorify God and I want to be a good example to people, but our world only accepts ignorance.”
McLaughlin, who has been very outspoken about her faith in Christ, said she feels she’s being rejected because she gives God the glory for her success.
“People reject truth,” the New Jersey native explained. “I know they’re not rejecting me. They’re rejecting Jesus living in me. That’s fine, but I’m just being honest, like, sometimes my flesh has a problem with that.”
“I’m so grateful that I have a relationship with God the way that I do, because, without it, I think I would honestly be going crazy right now,” she continued. “There’s so many things I don’t understand about the world, about our sport, about our culture. It makes no sense a lot of the time.”
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The accomplished runner went on to say she would like “a little bit of respect” for all her hard work and commitment — a courtesy she said she doesn’t even get from all of her teammates.
“It blows my mind,” she said tearfully. “People who have been my teammates, who have watched me die every day at practice believe I’m standing here today because I have followers because I am light-skinned. I can’t control what color my skin is. I can’t control who presses the follow button, but I can control what I do on that track and that’s the thing that doesn’t get the respect, and it blows my mind.”
While she said at the end of the video she believes there is “so much good” in the world, she added there’s also “so much sickness.”
“I’m praying for healing,” she said. “I really hope that people can see that they don’t have to live in this world of just hate. There’s such a better way.”
In the caption for the video, McLaughlin said she feels the 10-minute clip carries “a deeper message than just my emotions that I think others may need to hear.”
“Even in success,” she wrote, “there can be pain. Even in triumph, there can be tribulations. But how you respond, and the lens in which you view those situations provides an opportunity for growth and change.”
“I am beyond grateful for everything that has taken place this year,” the Olympian continued. “But the thing I am most grateful for is a renewed mind that has allowed for me to look at a video like this and see the changes Christ is doing in my life.”
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