U.S. Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin shared an emotional video this week that was taped following her success at the Olympic trials, opening up about what she calls a "test of faith."
Days after setting the world record time in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field 400-meter hurdles trials in Eugene, Oregon, in June, the then-21-year-old filmed a video where she candidly shared how hurt she was by the feedback she received after fulfilling one of her lifelong dreams.
According to the post, the video was filmed on June 30.
“Even in success, there can be pain,” she wrote in the caption of the video posted on Instagram.
"I feel like this is such a test of faith because my whole life, I've worked to get to where I am right now. Every young track athlete’s dream is to be the Olympian, to break a world record, to be the best version of themselves they can be,” McLaughlin stated in the clip.
In this season, she said she’s experienced growth and change emotionally, physically and spiritually. McLaughlin, a professing Christian, said that had God allowed for her to accomplish everything she has now two years earlier, she wouldn't have been strong enough to endure all that was coming.
Although she is in a much better place, the athlete said the less-than-ideal responses to her recent victories have been a test of her faith.
"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 disclosed. "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 the most excited for me literally almost didn't even care.”
The hurdler and sprinter noted that she has some really great people in her life that love her more than even some of her family. However, she was hurt that some closest to her were not as supportive as she thought they would be.
"I'm just going to be real. It hurts. I'm still hurt to this point, just not understanding when it's going to be enough for a lot of people,” McLaughlin explained. “I've 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!”
"I find it really disrespectful that you can do everything right, and it'll never be enough," she added. "There's still always a problem with you."
Due to the popularity of the Olympics, athletes can be exposed to hateful comments online, and McLaughlin is very outspoken about her Christian faith on social media. Nevertheless, McLaughlin said she was even receiving disrespect from some teammates and family members.
The New Jersey native said she stuck to her faith. And in a moment when she could have taken all the glory for herself, she instead gave it to God.
"People reject truth. 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,” she confessed.
"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,” McLaughlin testified. “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.”
The Olympian shared that she doesn't "live for the approval of people anymore because moments like this would have me down for about three weeks of not understanding why even some of my family, some of my closest friends aren't more happy for me in this moment."
“I can never just have a moment to just really just celebrate and just breathe, but I'm so grateful I don't live for that anymore," she told viewers. "Because if I did, my tank would be so empty.”
McLaughlin said she is grateful for her new perspective of knowing that “none of this matters.”
"Humans, we were not made to carry so much weight,” McLaughlin maintained. “We were not made to carry so much attention on us. We were not made to be famous. That was never what God intended for us, ever! The only person who is strong enough to carry that is Jesus.”
"I'm grateful for the platform, and I'm grateful to be able to reach people. But I don't want it," she revealed. "I don't want fame. I don’t want any of that. It's toxic. It genuinely, physically makes me sick. I don't want the fame. I would just like a little bit of respect."
McLaughlin shared a message to those who have been sending negativity her way.
"We don't have to be best friends. You may not agree with my message. But in the sport, at the age of 21, to be a two-time Olympian and a world record holder, I would just like a little bit of respect, just a little. You guys can have all that other stuff,” she shared in the video, which was recorded before she broke her own record in the 400-meter hurdle Olympic final in Tokyo and took home her first gold medal.
McLaughlin finished at 51.46 seconds.
"It blows my mind. 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,” she said in tears. "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.”
McLaughlin ended the video by saying, "There's so much good in this world, but there's so much sickness."
"I’m praying for healing. I really hope that people can see that they don't have to live in this world of just hate," she stressed. "There's such a better way.”
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic