Noah Lyles wins 200m, breaks 28-year-old Olympic trials record

EUGENE, Ore. — Noah Lyles posted the fastest time in the world in the men’s 200 meters — 19.53 seconds — to win gold in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials.

He was pushed by “Kung Fu” Kenny Bednarek, who clocked in at a personal best time of 19.59 to take silver. Erriyon Knighton, the 20-year-old former prodigy, took third place, his time of 19.77 beating out Christian Coleman (19.89). Knighton earned a spot in his second Olympics after going to Tokyo at 17.

“It showed me that people were willing to get up,” Lyles said. “Sometimes you feel that you’ll walk into a room and people are just scared to get up for it when it comes to 200. Seeing Kenny, seeing Christian, seeing Erriyon, even seeing Kyree — I love this. People said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to back down because he’s fast. I’m gonna get up because he’s fast.’ That’s the energy I love to see and those are the races that I want to keep having.”

Lyles had to come from behind to win Saturday. He was in fourth coming out of the turn, behind Bednarek, Coleman and Kyree King. But Lyles has another gear. He chased them all down and broke the trials record in the process.

Knighton finished strong, too. He was in fifth after the turn.

Lyles heads to Paris with gold in the 100 and 200 meters. He’s positioned himself to be the favorite in both events. He even issued a bit of a challenge to the Jamaicans after his semifinal win, asking about their times at their nation’s trials because, “I’m trying to see something.”

Lyles has backed up his talk by establishing himself as America’s best male sprinter. He’s the first American to win two major spring events at the Olympics since Michael Johnson in 1996, taking the 200 and the 400. The last American to do what Lyles is endeavoring to do was Carl Lewis, who won the 100 and 200 in the 1984 Olympics.

The men’s side of the sprint game is still in search of a star after Usain Bolt retired.

Italy’s Lamont Marcel Jacobs took gold in Tokyo, edging out American Fred Kerley. Since then, Lyles — who won bronze in the 200 meters in Tokyo — has emerged as a force. He won the 200 in the last two World Championships and the 100 in the 2023 Worlds.

And the entire time, Lyles has declared his greatness, drawing attention with antics that put him on the spot.

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(Photo: Craig Strobeck / USA Today)

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