Noah Lyles produced a scintillating performance to retain his world 200m crown on Friday (AEST) as US sprinters claimed their second podium clean sweep of the World Championships in Oregon.
Five days after Fred Kerley led a USA 1-2-3 in the 100m, Lyles delivered another showstopping display at Hayward Field, scorching to victory in 19.31sec — the fourth fastest time in history. Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake have run faster.
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The charismatic American star — who struggled to leave a mark at the Olympics last year after being billed as one of the favourites — took gold ahead of Kenny Bednarek in 19.77sec, with teenage Erriyon Knighton third in 19.80sec.
Lyles let out a roar of jubilation after powering over the finish line, before ripping open his vest in delight.
The 25-year-old from Florida had earned his right to the exuberant celebration after a performance that saw him eclipse Michael Johnson’s longstanding record of 19.32secs, set at the 1996 Olympics, to become the fastest American 200m runner in history.
“Today is my day and I finally got to do what I’ve dreamed about for years. I’ve got my whole family here,” Lyles said afterwards.
“I was hoping it was going to be a fast time because I thought it was going to be slow.”
The outcome had never been in doubt from the moment Lyles erupted smoothly from the blocks, hitting top speed within 50 metres to open up a comfortable lead coming off the bend.
Bednarek and Knighton tried to stay in touch, but there was no stopping Lyles, who seemed to find an extra gear to pull away and eventually take the tape several metres clear of Bednarek.
The sporting world couldn’t believe its eyes as Lyles made history.
Originally published as ‘Incredible’: US sprint star makes breaks 26-year record, edges closer to Bolt