Noah Lyles qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time in the men’s 200-meter dash in the 2020 Summer Games after coming fourth in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. On Sunday, June 27, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, the 2019 world champion ran the final of the Trials and won in a world-record time of 19.74 seconds.
Men’s 200 Meter Final Olympic Trials
Both Kenny Bednarek (19.78) and Erriyon Knighton (19.84) qualified for the U.S. team headed to Tokyo this summer by finishing second and third, respectively. Fred Kerley, a member of Team USA, placed fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 19.90.
At the 2016 national championship, Lyles, now 23 years old, ran the 100 and 200 metres while still in high school. After coming so close to reaching the Rio team that summer, he decided to turn professional. In Doha, Qatar, at the 2019 IAAF World Championships, the three-time national champion led Team USA to victory in the 200-meter event and helped the 4×100-meter relay team take gold.
Since 2016, Lyles has been Focused on Returning to the Olympics.
“Every year has been a buildup to becoming an Olympian again,” he said. “Grabbing the world lead and Diamond League titles, world championships, and then having the stop of 2020, it’s probably been my hardest year.” Everything was simple in the years leading up to this one; yes, 2019 will be a challenge, but it will be nothing compared to today.
When it comes to the Olympic Trials, I don’t think anyone can provide you any kind of training that can help you kill the lion that stands in your way. This is the most difficult squad to make and it shows; we’re not talking about the world championships or the U.S. championships.
On Saturday, the 17-year-old Knighton drew a lot of attention by winning his 200-meter heat and setting a new world under-20 record of 19.88 seconds, besting Lyles in the process. During Sunday’s final, he once again lowered the time. After a stellar track season in 2020, highlighted by a 20.33 triumph at the AAU Junior Olympics, Knighton made the jump to the professional ranks in January. Because of this, he is now the second-fastest sprinter in history among those younger than 18 years old.
Since Jim Ryun raced the 1500 metres in 1964, Knighton will be the youngest American male to compete in track and field at the Olympics.
It still hasn’t hit me. Becoming an Olympian “will definitely hit me harder when I go back to the hotel, but for now, I’m really pleased and I feel like it’s a really great achievement,” Knighton said.