We love a woman making history and finding love. Last year during the Olympics, Sydney McLaughlin ran her way into our hearts when she broke the record in the women’s 400 meter hurdles and now she’s walking into her happily ever after. The track and field athlete is preparing to make it last forever with her longtime boyfriend and former NFL player, Andre Levrone, and is opening up about life, love and mental health as the cover star of The Knot’s Spring Mental Health Issue. As she gets ready to trade in her Nike’s for that all white gown, McLaughlin is dedicated to keeping God and wholeness at the forefront of her union. “I really prioritize prayer, and not just at meals or in the morning and at night, but throughout the day”, she shared with The Knot. “I try and be vocal about things, whether I'm feeling them or just thinking them. I release them to God. If I'm facing a challenge or adversity, I have the tools and knowledge from scripture to fight the battles in front of me.” 

Her faith and her focus are what she contributes to finding her forever love. In detailing the story of the pair’s union, McLaughlin says, “Ever since I was very young, I always looked forward to the day when I would get married. I've made that such a big part of my life. I was constantly looking throughout my teenage years, throughout college, into early adulthood. A big part of meeting my fiancé had to do with the evolution of my faith, finding who I am in Christ and submitting all my plans to God. Not long after I did that, I met Andre.” 

McLaughlin and Levrone openly dote over one another on their Instagrams now but that is also where their story truly began. “We had a mutual friend who I went to high school with and he went to college with—but we didn't interact until he slid into my DMs”, she said. The pair dated for one year before Andre popped the question to Sydney while she was on a girl’s trip in Arizona. “I walk outside and there he was. I honestly don't remember what we talked about. I kept thinking, don't fall. Don't look ugly in these pictures. It was so sweet and very surreal”, she told The Knot. With a busy training schedule and a wedding to plan, it would be easy for Sydney to be overwhelmed but she says she is making sure to prioritize her mental health and lean on her community. “In the past when I was going through something I had a tendency to isolate myself and try and handle it on my own”, she says, “I’ve been working on that, knowing I have an amazing group of people in my corner who love me and want to help me. I'm starting to flex that muscle of vocalizing things and releasing them into the open so they can be addressed. I understand that there's people out there who can and will help you.” 

The blushing bride is pretty tightlipped on what we can expect from her on her big day but she did say it’s “not simple”. We are rooting for this couple to keep running away with our hearts for many more years to come.