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Noah Lyles ties Usain Bolt record for sub-20s; new 100m world leader at NYC Grand Prix

Lyles emerges victorious in 200m at NYC Grand Prix
With his mom looking on, Noah Lyles delivers a strong close to win the men's 200m in 19.83 seconds at the NYC Grand Prix.

Noah Lyles tied Usain Bolt’s record by breaking 20 seconds in a wind-legal 200m for the 34th time in his career, winning at the New York City Grand Prix on Saturday.

Lyles clocked 19.83 seconds, distancing the field by 42 hundredths. Lyles, who broke the American record in winning the 2022 World title in 19.31, is the world’s fastest man this year at 19.67.

“It’s not perfect, but it was very fun,” Lyles said of the 19.83 to Lewis Johnson on NBC.

Lyles is the third-fastest 200m sprinter in history behind Bolt (19.19) and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26). But he is now even with Bolt in number of times breaking 20 seconds, 10 more times than retired Namibian Frankie Fredericks and 11 more than 1996 Olympic champ Michael Johnson.

Lyles can break his tie with Bolt later this summer — if he enters a Diamond League meet, such as in London on July 23, or at August’s world championships in Budapest.

Athletes are preparing for the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in two weeks in Eugene, Oregon, where the top three in most events qualify for worlds. Lyles has a bye into worlds in the 200m as reigning champion and plans to race the 100m at USATF Outdoors.

Full meet results are here. The track and field season continues Friday with a Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, live on Peacock.

Earlier Saturday, Zharnel Hughes ran the world’s fastest 100m of 2023, 9.83 seconds to break 1992 Olympic champion Linford Christie’s British record of 9.87. The only European to run faster is Tokyo Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy.

Hughes, 27, was a teen phenom from Anguilla who came within three hundredths of a second of Usain Bolt in a 200m in New York City in 2015. His previous personal best in the 100m was 9.91 from 2018, which up until now was the lone year that he broke 9.95. Hughes is coached by Bolt’s longtime coach Glen Mills.

“2015 I came here, and I ran against Usain Bolt, and it was memorable,” Hughes told Lewis Johnson on NBC, adding that he woke up Saturday with 9.83 on his mind. “I wanted to come back here again, in a different event, and prove myself, prove to the world. I’m here.”

Now, he enters the mix for the world title that’s led by reigning champion Fred Kerley, who was not in Saturday’s field but is undefeated at 100m for the last year and ran his personal best of 9.76 exactly one year ago.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone won the 400m in a personal-best 49.51 seconds to become the second-fastest American woman this year and since the Tokyo Olympics behind Britton Wilson. McLaughlin-Levrone plans to race the flat 400m at USATF Outdoors since she has a bye into worlds in the 400m hurdles as reigning world champion. She is expected to choose either the 400m or the 400m hurdles for worlds.

On June 9, McLaughlin-Levrone ran the flat 400m at a top-level meet for the first time since 2019, went out near world record pace and clocked 49.71, getting passed late by Olympic and world silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic.

“Much better execution [in New York City than Paris], still things to work on,” McLaughlin-Levrone told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “Happy overall.”

Athing Mu comfortably won the 800m in 1:58.73 in her first race since capturing the world title last July. Two-time world bronze medalist Ajeé Wilson slowed in the last 200 meters and was 11th in the 11-woman field, 5.25 seconds behind the penultimate finisher.

Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 100m in 10.98. Hobbs ranks second among Americans this year with a best time of 10.86, trailing only Sha’Carri Richardson, who ran 10.76 on May 5 and was not in Saturday’s field.

Abby Steiner won the 200m in 22.19 over Tamara Clark and Jenna Prandini in a repeat of the top three from last year’s USATF Outdoors.

Keni Harrison edged Alaysha Johnson by one hundredth in the 100m hurdles, a repeat of their tight finish at last year’s USATF Outdoors. Harrison ran 12.29 to Johnson’s 12.30 with a 2.8 meter/second tailwind. The Olympic silver medalist Harrison remains the U.S. leader this year with a best wind-legal time of 12.35.

Maggie Ewen won the women’s shot put with a 19.68-meter throw, beating a field that included world champion Chase Ealey (third, 19.25). Ewen, 28, was the top American at the 2019 Worlds (fourth place), then missed the Tokyo Olympic team and placed ninth at the 2022 Worlds. She is ranked No. 1 in the world this year by more than a foot.