Jamaican track and field icon Usain Bolt, a legend in the world of sprinting, has long been a household name, boasting two formidable world records. In 2009, at Germany's Olympiastadion, he astounded the world by establishing the men's 100m world record, clocking a lightning-fast 9.58 seconds.
Not stopping there, he went on to set the men's 200m world record at the same venue, achieving a remarkable 19.19 seconds. For over a decade, these records stood unchallenged, a testament to Bolt's unrivaled prowess. Recently, however, the limelight has shifted to American track sensation Noah Lyles, who has been relentlessly pursuing the coveted 200m world record.
Last year, in Eugene, Lyles achieved a significant milestone by surpassing Michael Johnson's American record, recording an impressive time of 19.31 seconds, ranking him third in the 200m division globally. Despite numerous attempts this year, Lyles has yet to surpass his personal best in the 200m.
Nevertheless, his aspiration to break records remains unwavering. In a noteworthy turn of events, Lyles has finally managed to surpass one of Usain Bolt's records. Lyles, driven by an insatiable hunger for greatness, constantly pushes his limits in pursuit of record-breaking achievements.
Noah Lyles Breaks Bolt's Sub-20 Record
Lyles has now broken Usain Bolt's record for the most sub-20 second timings in the men's 200m outdoor division. Bolt, who retired in 2017, amassed a staggering 34 sub-20 second timings during his illustrious career.
Lyles matched this record a few months ago with a remarkable time of 19.83 seconds at the New York City Grand Prix in June. Building on this achievement, Lyles has since recorded four more sub-20 second timings, clinching victories in two 2023 Diamond League events, the U.S.
Track and Field Championships, and most recently, the World Championships in Budapest.
Social media was abuzz with Lyles' feat, with one user tweeting, "@LylesNoah became the athlete with the most sub-20s in the history of the men's 200m (outdoor)." Lyles now leads a prestigious list of track legends in sub-20 second timings, surpassing Usain Bolt, Frank Fredericks, and Michael Johnson.
?? @LylesNoah became the athlete with the most sub 20s in the history of the men’s 200m (outdoor)
?? Noah Lyles (38)
?? Usain Bolt (34)
?? Frank Fredericks (24)
?? Michael Johnson (23)
?? Wallace Spearmon (23)
?? Kenneth Bednarek (20)
?? Erriyon Knighton (17)
??… — Victor K Almeida ? (@AlmeidaVictorK) September 10, 2023
Notably, Lyles' blazing time of 19.47 seconds at the London leg of the 2023 Diamond League stands as the world-leading time in the men's 200m this year. While Lyles is just 19 years old, fellow American track prodigy Erriyon Knighton also makes an appearance on the list with an astounding 17 sub-20 second timings, despite his relatively young career.
This list underscores Lyles' potential to set a new 200m world record. In a recent interview, Lyles revealed his perspective on world records. While publicly stating his aim to set a new 200m world record in the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, he emphasized that he now places less importance on world records.
According to Lyles, "I believed that gaining two gold medals trumped having the world record. This is a huge debate that goes on in our sport: What's better, having a world record or an Olympic gold medal? And if you're choosing the world record, then you're a fool." Lyles argued that records are meant to be broken, and an athlete should prioritize winning a gold medal because it etches their name in history forever.
In contrast, once a world record is surpassed, the previous record holder fades into obscurity. With Lyles already surpassing Usain Bolt's sub-20 record, anticipation is mounting for him to set a new 200m world record. With the 2024 Paris Olympics on the horizon, the track and field community eagerly awaits another epic showdown featuring the remarkable Noah Lyles.