The biggest challenge for the Olympic Games over the next decade will be finding a figurehead capable of shining as brightly as Usain Bolt. While it is unlikely that anyone will be able to completely match the charisma and star quality of the once-in-a-generation Jamaican – there is a sprinter who might just come close.
Noah Lyles, a 24 year-old, from Gainesville, Florida, is already running faster than Bolt did at the same age. He is dominating the 200m, where he has a fastest time of 19.50 seconds, and looks capable of becoming a 100m great too – with a fastest time of 9.86 seconds. In 2017, he set a new world record for the indoor 300m.
Lyles’ 19.50 – set in 2019 – is, incredibly, the eighth fastest time ever run. Nobody has covered half the track as quickly since Bolt and Yohan Blake at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Only Bolt, Blake and Michael Johnson have run 200m faster, ever. And he did it in a slight headwind, too.
Lyles has been on Olympic fan radars for six years, since he won the 200m gold medal for USA at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. He then went on to confirm his potential in the Diamond League over the next few years.
“The day I think I can’t be beat is the day that I will slip up and somebody will come and beat me.””
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