Noah Lyles talks world record goal as Michael Johnson drops into interview
Noah Lyles said he planned to run 19.10 seconds in the 200m final at July’s world championships, which would have broken Usain Bolt‘s world record. He was plenty satisfied with clocking a personal-best 19.31 seconds to break Michael Johnson‘s American record, though.
Lyles reflected on worlds in Eugene, Oregon, in an interview for the monthly Olympic and Paralympic show “Chasing Gold: Paris 2024,” which debuts on NBC on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET (and will be available on Peacock starting Monday).
“I was planning to run 19.10,” Lyles said of a time that is nine hundredths faster than Bolt’s world record from the 2009 World Championships. “That’s what me and my therapist had in our hearts. I was very much on the idea of I want to give myself a goal to chase that’s so out there. Even if I don’t get to that goal, I’ll have obliterated whatever is behind me.”
Lyles won by a distant .46 of a second in an American medals sweep. He picked off Johnson’s American record, his famous 1996 Olympic gold-medal run in golden shoes, by one hundredth.
Johnson was a surprise drop-in to the “Chasing Gold” interview.
“I knew when he came off the curve that this was going to be special,” said Johnson, who was at Hayward Field that night commentating for the BBC. “When you think about Noah, you’re not thinking necessarily about American records, you think about world records. ... I was thinking, is he on world record pace?”
In addition to Bolt’s record, Lyles had something else on his mind in the day leading up to the final: his celebration. In his room in Eugene, he practiced putting on a team USA jersey and tearing it from the chest.
“I didn’t want to rip it and get half-ripped, and here I am with a half-ripped jersey looking all weak on TV,” he joked.
Lyles finished his season by winning the Diamond League Final in Zurich, Switzerland, last week, completing an undefeated 200m campaign. In all, Lyles ran 19.67 or faster a total of seven times in 2022, and 19.52 or faster a total of three times, both the most for any sprinter in one year in history.
Next up: a bye into the August 2023 World Championships in Budapest.
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