Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin's NJ hometown cheers from afar

Team USA's Sydney McLaughlin took home gold during the women's 400-meter hurdle at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. McLaughlin won in 51.46 seconds, breaking her own world record.

McLaughlin grew up in Dunellen, a borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey. On Wednesday, community members beamed with joy following the win. 

"The fact that she beat a world record and beat her own world record," neighbor Lizzy Burr said. "There is something in her that nobody else has."

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 5 NY News app. Download for FREE!

"We were screaming our heads off," family friend Zachary Newsom said. "It was absolutely awesome to see her just crush it."

McLaughlin graduated from Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains in 2017. Mike McCabe, her high school track coach, said she dreamed of being an Olympic champion and had no doubt she was going to get there. 

RELATED: Sydney McLaughlin sets world record and wins gold in Olympic 400-meter hurdles

"A phenomenal athlete from the beginning. Hard worker, discipline, always at practice," McCabe said. "She just progressed so fast that I did think that she would get to this point."

Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

Sister Percylee Hart, McLaughlin's principal, said her humility and kindness made her stand out.

"It's not just about being the best athlete you are," Hart said. "It's about being the best person you can be."

RELATED: Olympic medalist Rai Benjamin inspires other Mount Vernon athletes