USA Dominates 200m Final at World Athletics Championships
USA Dominates 200m Final at World Athletics Championships – At the 2022 World Athletics Championships on Thursday, Noah Lyles put on a dominant display to defend his 200-meter championship in 19.31 seconds, moving up to third place all-time in the process and guiding the second American sprint podium sweep.
Tokyo bronze medalist Lyles took the lead halfway through the race and roared to victory. Compatriots Kenny Bednarek (19.77) and 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton (19.80) fought it out for silver and bronze coming out of the turn.
Lyles has not been satisfied with how quickly he has been getting out of the blocks in some of his races but said the first few metres on Thursday was “the start of my life”.
“I was telling (Knighton) and Kenny, I was like, ‘I was glad y’all was behind me because y’all put the fear of God into my start,'” said Lyles.
He knew he had a clear path to the top of the podium when he did not feel Knighton behind him off the turn.
“After that (turn) I was like, ‘Okay, I’m racing myself. Let’s go,’ which was my goal,” he told reporters. “But I also had in the back of the head, in case he did try to pull up on me, I was going to be ready for it.”
Lyles ripped open his shirt after the finish as the home crowd in Eugene, Oregon, roared with approval, and offered an embrace to rival Knighton.
“Today is my day – I finally got to do what I dreamed of,” he said on track after breaking four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson’s national record, which had stood since 1996. “I got my whole family here.”
Lyles’ time was initially displayed as 19.32, which would have tied Johnson’s record. However, it was then updated to an official 19.31 when his back was turned, with the 25-year-old clearly stunned when he noticed the new figure on the clock.
Later, Johnson came over to him to congratulate him on accomplishing that goal.
He was so wrapped up in the moment that Lyles later told reporters he was initially unaware of his margin of victory – or even which medals his team mates got.
“I didn’t know Erriyon got third until we walked up on the podium,” said Lyles.
After the podium celebration inside Hayward Field, to the pleasure of the crowd, Lyles climbed aboard the back of World Championships mascot Legend and rode over the track.
The American men’s 1-2-3 finish on Thursday followed Fred Kerley, Marvin Bracy, and Trayvon Bromell’s victory in the 100 meters. It marks the first time a nation has won both of the men’s sprint events at the world championships in the same year.
It brought to a close a spectacular turnabout from the Tokyo Olympics a year prior, when the American men left empty-handed in the individual track competition.
Lyles said he had undergone a transformation as well, re-learning how to love the sport after going through Tokyo with “a huge target” on his back.
“Every time I got on the track this year – I knew I wasn’t that same person anymore,” he said. “It was like I found my groove, I was enjoying track again. I was happy every day just to be running.”
- NOAH LYLES, USA – 19.31 WL
- KENNETH BEDNAREK, USA – 19.77 SB
- ERRIYON KNIGHTON, USA – 19.80
- JOSEPH FAHNBULLEH, LBR – 19.84
- ALEXANDER OGANDO, DOM – 19.93
- JEREEM RICHARDS, TTO – 20.08
- AARON BROWN, CAN – 20.18
- LUXOLO ADAMS, RSA – 20.47