Members of the public joined the school community on Tuesday at a watch party for McLaughlin at a local tavern. They formed a crowd almost 1,000 strong, ecstatically screaming during the live broadcast of McLaughlin winning gold in the 400-meter hurdle race.
“It was a great big mix of students, alums, faculty, staff, parents of students, and members of the community,” Jim Lambert, the school’s information director, told CNA.
McLaughlin, 21, of Dunellen, New Jersey, competed in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro while still in high school. She set the world record twice in her Tokyo performances: once during the Olympic trials, and again in her Aug. 3 gold medal run, with a time of 51.46 seconds.
McLaughlin is not Catholic, but has been outspoken on her social media account about her faith in Jesus Christ. After her first time breaking the world record on June 28, McLaughlin posted an instagram photo of herself with the caption, “The face of a woman who is in awe of God.”
“The goal of my life is to glorify [God] in everything that I do, and to be more like him every single day when I wake up,” McLaughin said in an Instagram video she posted online earlier this year.
Sagendorf, who taught Sydney while she was a freshman and sophomore at the school, said McLaughlin was a great student and attested to her mental strength. “I always knew if it was the day before a big race in school because you could see she was mentally preparing,” she said.