Noah Lyles set a new U.S. record in the men’s 200m final at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Erriyon Knighton, who won a bronze medal, is on the left. Kenneth Bednarek, who won a silver medal, is on the right.
Noah Lyles breaks U.S. record
Noah Lyles knew he had just run the best race of his life, and maybe the best 200 meters any American had ever run. In the final of the World Athletics Championships on Thursday night, he finished so far ahead of the other runners that, after crossing the finish line, he turned to face his only real opponent: the clock.
But the on-field clock stubbornly showed Lyles’ unofficial time as 19.32 for a long time. Any other runner in the world would be happy with that time, but it was the same time that Michael Johnson ran the 200 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Since then, it has seemed impossible to beat. Up to now,
Lyles, who was 25 years old, stood with his hands on his hips and looked around. He went to Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, and talked to the clock there.
“I was telling it to let me off the hook, you know,” he told reporters later as they laughed. “How is it going to keep showing 19.32? “Come on, make that better.”
He got down close to it and wondered if all his hard work would pay off. The record was set the summer after Lyles won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, which he thought was not good enough. It all came together in Oregon, where Lyles used a great start to win a race that everyone was looking forward to.
As Lyles stood on the track afterward, it looked like he was arguing with the clock. Two things happened when he finally turned away. The clock’s display showed that his time was 19.31 instead of 19.32. Above, the word “Official” blared like a magic spell.
The fastest American ever in the 200 meters
As the official time was shown on the screens around the stadium, the crowd went wild in celebration of Lyles’ being named the fastest American ever in the 200 meters. When it was his turn, a lot of his family were there to cheer him on. Lyles said later. “Mom, stepdad, sister, brother, dad, stepmom, uncle, grandma,” Lyles said.
The new record put an exclamation point on a sweep by the U.S. in the men’s 200-meter race. Erriyon Knighton, who is only 18, won bronze, and Kenneth Bednarek, who is also only 18, won silver.
It was a long time coming for Lyles, but he was finally free. He has made it a point to talk openly about the problems he’s had to deal with, like asthma, in order to train and race. He says that therapy has helped him deal with his depression, and he helps young kids who want to run track but don’t have the money to do so.
But on Thursday night, Lyles ran faster than anyone else in the world and set a new gold standard for the U.S. track. Now, he is definitely one of the fastest people the world has ever seen. Only Jamaican runners Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake have been faster than his time of 19.31.
Because he was a BBC Sport commentator, Johnson was there to see his record fall. He told Lyles in person how happy he was.
Lyles said with a big smile, “To be honest, I didn’t think he’d come down.”
But Johnson did. And, finally, so did his record.
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