Noah Lyles steps up to be Usain Bolt's heir apparent with 200m gold

Article Image

One of the biggest storylines from the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar have been the small crowds watching the action unfold.

Posted: Oct 1, 2019 5:40 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2019 5:40 PM

Athletics has been crying out for the next Usain Bolt and Noah Lyles, the sprinter with the silver hair, proved he might just be the heir apparent to the fastest man of all time.

On Tuesday, Lyles delivered on his pre-IAAF World Athletic Championships promise to win 200-meter gold -- and then some in Doha, Qatar.

The 22-year-old American, who models his hair on Goku, a character from the Japanese anime series Dragon Ball-Z, took gold in a time of 19.83 seconds.

Bolt's world record of 19.19 remained comfortably intact but Lyles has already pledged to lower the Jamaican's seemingly impossible marks for both the 100m and 200m come Tokyo next year.

As he crossed the line in first place, Lyles said: "It's been a long season but I'm still out there and I'm still having fun, and I still have many goals to achieve."

In a sport and a World Championships bedevilled by negative headlines -- from Alberto Salazar's four-year doping ban to collapsed marathon runners in the searing heat and empty stands in Doha -- the event and athletics as a sport desperately needs stars like Lyles.

IAAF president Seb Coe has talked of crowning the sport's new stars and the American is happy to be more than just fast, unlike his more understated teammate Christian Coleman -- the 100m champion in Qatar.

READ: Fraser-Pryce crowned world's fastest woman

On the start line, Lyles looked to the heavens and roared -- akin to the sort of histrionics of Bolt before his retirement in 2017. And like the Jamaican, the American delivered in style.

In the build-up to the World Championships, Lyles had sounded a confident note, writing on Instagram that he was starting "the biggest journey of my life and, with God's plan I will come out victorious."

At only Lyles' first major global championships, it is perhaps premature to talk about a legacy, although the 22-year-old has only to look at Bolt to see how it's done.

'A rock star'

Tuesday's victory means Lyles has not lost at a meeting since finishing fourth at the 2016 US Olympics trials and that was when he was still a high-school student.

His American teammate in Qatar, Justin Gatlin, described him as "a rock star -- he likes to put on a show." And inside the Khalifa International Stadium, Lyles did just that, at an event much maligned for its lack of atmosphere, the noise from the crowd befitting of a new champion.

Lyles never looked in danger of defeat, Canadian Andre de Grasse taking the silver with Ecuadorian Alex Quinonez the bronze.

Off the track, Lyles knows how to play the game. He might not yet be a household name like Bolt but he has already strutted his stuff on the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week and produced his own hip-hop album, which he described as a mix between Kendrick Lemar, Kanye West and Jaden Smith.

READ: Allyson Felix break's Bolt's record

However, behind the effervescent smile, there is a story of hardships that has toughened him up on and off track.

He describes himself as a loner, suffering from asthma as an infant and a series of allergies as well as being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. He has also spoken openly about a battle with depression.

The one Bolt meeting

Born in Florida, the family relocated to Virginia. Lyles' parents were both accomplished sprinters without quite setting alight the athletics world like their son.

Lyles does not lack for confidence. He has the word ICON tattooed on his side and, when he ran a personal best of 19.50 seconds for the 200m in Paris earlier this year -- the fourth fastest time in history -- he posted the message "Bolt who?" on social media.

Despite the bravado, Lyles is also wary of the comparison with Bolt. But with the 2019 season now nearly over, the man that would be king is making a good start as sprinting's new global force.

He has already achieved something Bolt never did, in fact no man has, winning the Diamond League 100m and 200m titles in the same season.

As for eclipsing Bolt's records and times, the multiple-Olympic champion Michael Johnson tweeted earlier in the summer: "Lyles is the only American I've seen that I believe can surpass 19.32 [Johnson's previous 200m world record]. However, he's probably more appropriately focusing on 19.19!!!"

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32437

Reported Deaths: 2030
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9371546
Lake3347170
Cass15867
Allen135366
St. Joseph121834
Hendricks113567
Hamilton112391
Johnson1092104
Elkhart107028
Madison58259
Porter49521
Bartholomew48634
Clark47141
LaPorte41523
Tippecanoe3803
Howard37620
Jackson3681
Delaware35936
Hancock32327
Shelby32121
Floyd31539
Boone29335
Morgan27024
Vanderburgh2532
Montgomery23317
White2288
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19521
Noble19221
Harrison18821
Dubois1852
Henry1709
Greene16824
Warrick16528
Dearborn16421
Monroe16211
Vigo1507
Lawrence14623
Miami1391
Putnam1347
Jennings1284
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1136
Franklin1068
Kosciusko971
Carroll932
Daviess8416
Marshall801
Steuben802
Wayne755
Newton7410
Wabash732
Fayette714
Jasper621
LaGrange622
Washington521
Fulton471
Jay460
Randolph453
Rush452
Jefferson421
Whitley412
Clay411
Pulaski400
Owen341
Sullivan331
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke313
Perry260
Wells260
Huntington262
Knox250
Benton250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford202
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke180
Spencer171
Posey160
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0159

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 114306

Reported Deaths: 5083
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook745213455
Lake7845270
DuPage7350347
Kane5947162
Will5279264
Winnebago200152
McHenry147569
St. Clair103573
Kankakee80843
Kendall73619
Rock Island63823
Champaign5807
Madison54457
Boone41016
Sangamon33727
DeKalb3343
Randolph2644
Jackson24210
McLean21513
Out of IL2051
Stephenson1942
Ogle1932
Macon18919
Peoria1888
Clinton17817
Union1437
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1314
Coles11912
Warren1130
Unassigned1100
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9311
Grundy882
McDonough837
Lee761
Tazewell693
Cass680
Henry670
Williamson572
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin431
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion371
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess310
Livingston312
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Carroll142
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 69°
Robinson
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Indianapolis
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Rockville
Overcast
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 65°
Casey
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Brazil
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 69°
Marshall
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
More Rain Thursday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events