Noah Lyles: Working hard to stay on top

American sprinter is profiled in the new episode of Olympic Channel's Athletes to Watch series

By ZK Goh

Noah Lyles is without doubt one of the big names in athletics at the moment. The American sprinter is the 200m world champion and has his sights set on impressing in the 100m too.

Tokyo 2020 will be his first Olympic Games, and it promises to be spectacular for the 23-year-old.

Lyles is the subject of the latest episode in Olympic Channel's original series, Athletes to Watch - Tokyo 2020.

Olympic dreams

Lyles got his first taste of the Games when he was a youngster at home with his brother, watching London 2012.

It was the spark that set the Virginia native on the path to top-level track and field.

Two years later, he was representing Team USA in China at his first Gamestime experience. "The Nanjing Youth Olympics were really huge for me," Lyles says in the episode.

"It was really the first time where you got to see what it would be like if you went to an Olympics."

Mental health

The American has quickly blossomed into one of the world's best sprinters, with a 200m personal best of 19.50 seconds.

But it is perhaps his 100m potential that is understated, given he is the world champion over the longer distance.

On his season debut over 100m last month, Lyles ran a wind-assisted 9.93s, seven hundredths short of his personal record.

Despite his stellar athletic ability, Lyles is not infallible. He recently spoke out on social media about his mental health, revealing that he is taking antidepressants.

Staying on top

Competition at the top of any sport is fierce, something Lyles knows very well.

"There's tons of people who are good. There's tons of people who've gotten to where I am now," he points out in the episode.

"But to be great, I've got to do what most people haven't.

"There is somebody right now who is working just as hard as I am, so I have to make sure that every piece of me is good."

You can watch the episode right now on the Olympic Channel for free and without subscription.