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Noah Lyles, safety first on 2021 Olympics, trains near woods, dog walkers

Noah Lyles was hoping to be a first-time Olympian, but with Tokyo 2020 postponed, he shares his plan moving forward with Mike Tirico.

Noah Lyles looks at life as an adventure right now. The world 200m champion is finishing an EP, playing Dead by Daylight and squeezing in some unusual training.

Lyles’ sprint cadre in Central Florida is no longer practicing on the track amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the pack of about 24 athletes was split into groups of six to train at different times at a park.

“Not a lot we can do, just kind of a little bit of running on the grass,” Lyles said, noting the Olympic hopefuls share the space with dog walkers. “It’s not so much an open field. It’s more like random spots that are just open in the woods.

“It’s all about an hour or two, and then go back, quarantine, but it’s a little bit of something to not go a little crazy.”

The world’s other top sprinter, world 100m champion Christian Coleman, is working out alone in Georgia, hopping the fence at a high school, according to Reuters.

Lyles and Coleman were to face off in the 100m and 200m at the Olympic Trials in June and, if they made the U.S. team, the Tokyo Games in August. Tuesday’s announcement that the Olympics will now be in 2021 delayed all that.

Lyles has already been waiting nearly four years since placing fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials 200m in a national high school record. He’s going to have to be more patient.

“Safety first,” Lyles told NBC Olympic primetime host Mike Tirico. “The last thing we want is for anybody to get sick. I can train for another year, but if the world goes through a crisis and everybody gets sick, we can’t even have the Olympics forever.”

Lyles is known for his varied interests. The man with ICON tattoed on his side is passionate about Dragon Ball Z, legos and designing clothing. It’s helping him get by these days.

“Sometimes, just drawing and painting can be a really good way to keep your mind off of the stresses of what’s going on in the world,” Lyles said.

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