Home Sports U.S. Track & Field Trials: Noah Lyles primed for Paris after 100m victory

U.S. Track & Field Trials: Noah Lyles primed for Paris after 100m victory

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EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 23: Noah Lyles signs a miniature Eiffel Tower after winning the men's 100 meter final on day three of the 2024 US Olympic Team Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field on June 23 June 2024 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Noah Lyles signs a miniature Eiffel Tower after winning the men’s 100m final to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

America’s fastest man walked into Hayward Field Sunday night and cameras captured his every step.

Noah Lyles wore a navy Gucci suit, dark shades, and shimmering white pearls woven into his hair. Next to him was Snoop Dogg, carrying a silver briefcase containing the bright red Adidas t-shirt that Lyles intended to wear that same night.

When it came time to race for Lyles, he once again proved that he is not just a showman off the track. Lyles recovered from a slow start to win the men’s 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, cementing himself as the United States’ best hope to secure Olympic gold in Paris later this summer.

Lyles’ winning time of 9.83 seconds is the third-fastest in the world in the men’s 100 meters this year and tied his previous personal best. Only Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala (9.79) and Jamaican Oblique Sevilla (9.82) have run faster so far this season.

The two Americans who joined Lyles in punching their tickets to Paris in the men’s 100 meters also have extensive international experience. Second-place Kenny Bednarek is a former college product who first became an Olympic silver medalist in the 200 at the 2020 Games and has now also excelled in the 100. Fred Kerley, who placed third First, he won a silver medal in Tokyo in the 100 three years ago and was one-hundredth of a second away from Olympic gold.

Sunday night’s unlucky fourth-place finisher was Christian Coleman, the self-proclaimed “greatest 60-meter runner of all time.” As usual, Coleman accelerated like he had a rocket strapped to his back, but this time he faded badly in the final third of the race, allowing first Lyles and then Bednarek and Kerley to pass him.

Qualifying for Paris in the 100 meters keeps alive Lyles’ audacious goal of achieving something this summer that not even the iconic Usain Bolt accomplished. The American has said that he hopes to win Olympic gold in four different running events.

At last year’s World Championships, Lyles achieved the sprint hat trick, winning the men’s 100 and 200 meters before leading the US men’s 4×100 meter relay team to gold with a dazzling anchor leg. Lyles hopes USA Track & Field will give him the opportunity to add the 4×400 meter relay to his repertoire this summer.

“(Bolt) has already won three and he has the world records when he did it,” Lyles told The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon. “What do you have to do to be better than that? You have to get four. Nobody has done four. Now you go to Mount Rushmore. Now you are the greatest of the greats. “That’s what I’m trying to achieve.”

The 200 remains Lyles’ specialty, but he has worked tirelessly to become competitive in the 100 in recent years. It showed on Saturday night when Lyles slowed after 60 meters and still won his heat easily in 9.92 seconds.

“One of the easiest 9.9s I’ve ever seen!” American sprint legend Michael Johnson tweeted afterward.

Lyles came a little closer to booking a spot in Paris the following night, running a wind-aided 9.80 seconds to win his semi-final. Coleman responded a few minutes later, crossing the finish line first in his semi-final with a legal time of 9.86 seconds.

That seemed to set up a showdown that would come down to the same thing that happens in every race between Lyles and Coleman. Could Coleman put away Lyles early with a blistering start? Or could Lyles stay within striking distance and push Coleman forward during the second half of the race?

In the end, Lyles seized the moment and Coleman chose a bad night to exit the race.

Now Lyles can add American 100m champion to his resume and can turn his attention to qualifying for Paris in his 200m basics next weekend.

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