Noah Lyles knew he had run the best race of his life — and maybe the best 200 meters any American had ever run.
For 26 years, only two men — Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake — have posted a faster 200 meter times than Michael Johnson when he ran a 19.32 second race at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
That race cemented Johnson’s status as one of the all-time greats in American track history after he pulled off the never-before seen 200 meter/400 meter double gold, and every other American man has been chasing that time for more than two decades. On Thursday night in Eugene, Oregon, Johnson’s American record finally fell to Noah Lyles, who defended his world title in the 200 meter with an outrageous 19.31 second race, pulling away from the field by the middle of the turn and extending that advantage down the home stretch in a wildly impressive performance.
The unofficial clock had him tying Johnson’s record, but when the official time posted it dropped the one-hundredth of a second needed to give him the American record alone. It is an incredibly impressive time, the fourth fastest in history behind a pair of Bolt runs (including what may be an untouchable 19.19) and Blake’s 19.26, and Lyles proved he’s still the top American sprinter at the 200 meter distance. Lyles’ run headlined an American sweep of the podium in the 200 meter, completing what was a wildly successful worlds for the American men on the track in short distances, as Fred Kerley likewise led an American sweep in the 100 meter earlier in the championships.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 22, 2022