Noah Lyles tells Katie Ledecky he has "multiple goals" as both look forward to Tokyo 2020

The world champion sprinter joined the queen of the pool for a live Instagram chat where Lyles also discussed his love on anime and manga.

4 min By Rory Jiwani
Lyles Relay Doha

The Covid pandemic has made it hard for everyone to catch up with friends in person.

Virtual meet-ups have become more common with athletes sometimes sharing their conversations with a live audience on social media.

That happened on Thursday (22 October) with sprint star Noah Lyles the guest on five-time Olympic swimming gold medallist Katie Ledecky's Instagram Live chat billed as 'Lunch with Ledecky'.

The pair, both destined for big things at Tokyo 2020, were on numerous photo shoots together before the pandemic struck and are clearly firm friends.

They covered a number of subjects including their experiences of living in the 'DMV' (D.C., Maryland and Virginia area), race preparation, Lyles' expensive fashion tastes, and getting back into training.

Lyles' love of Japan

Both are greatly looking forward to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with Lyles a big fan of Japanese comic books (manga) and animation (anime).

He said, "So my favourite anime is Full Metal Alchemist. There are two versions - Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood. I truthfully like both versions for different reasons, but I usually watch Brotherhood more.

"And then my favourite manga is called Garden of Eden. It was one of the first long mangas I ever read. And I got like truly into the world.

"I was staying up late, and this is when I was in middle school. And I'm reading this from 9pm to 3am when I was supposed to be sleeping.

"And my mom's like, 'Why are you so tired?' I'm like, 'I was reading' and then she got excited. But then when I told her what it was, she didn't seem so excited."

Lyles' affinity for Japan increased further when he made his first visit for last year's World Relays.

"We were in Yokohama, which is about an hour and a half away from Tokyo. And it was so fun, I loved it. All the people were nice. It was clean. And the fans were just so excited to be around us and just see us. I was just like, 'I've never had an interaction like this where they are, like, overjoyed.'

"The police had all the people back, telling them, 'Hey, you're stepping too far'. I'm like 'Oh, is this what it's like to be famous?'"

Ledecky had a similar experience when she competed at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

"The fans were awesome in Tokyo. We swam at the pool which for the Olympics I think water polo will be using. But a great pool.

"And the fans, they had noise clappers, they would always come out, be by the bus and try to get autographs and take pictures and wave and that was fun."

Lyles sets "multiple goals" to avoid boredom

Both athletes are tipped to star in Tokyo with Lyles winning 200m and 4x100m relay gold at last year's World Athletics Championships in Doha.

When asked whether his goals were focused on winning medals, the 23-year-old from Gainsville, Florida said, "I would say that I'm someone who has more personal goals than I do medal goals. But at the same time, of course, I have those high achieving medal goals.

"I'm always going to have one that's just like one 'far out' there goal like, 'OK, I want to break the world record.' So I have to train like I'm going to try and break the world record each time.

"And then there's the goal of 'OK, I want to improve from what I did this year.' And then there's the goal where it's like, 'OK, I don't know, I want to get three golds at the Olympics.' So there's... I have like multiple goals because I don't want to get myself so caught up on if I don't get this goal, then it's all over. And then what happens if I do get that goal and I have no other goal to chase after for the rest of the year? Now, I don't want to end up in that position.

"I guess I have multiple goals and they all speak to different parts of me that want to chase after something. I don't want to get bored with just one thing." - Noah Lyles speaking to Katie Ledecky

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