Noah Lyles qualified for the Olympics 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 defending world champion ran the final of the Trials in a world-record 19.74 seconds.
Team USA will send Kenny Bednarek (19.78) and Erriyon Knighton (19.84) to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo because they finished second and third, respectively. Fred Kerley, a 100-meter runner, placed fourth (19.90), just missing out on a spot for Team USA.
Lyles, now 23 years old, ran in the 100 and 200 metres at the 2016 national championship while still in high school. After coming close to reaching the Rio team that summer, he made the decision to turn professional.
Team USA win the 200-Meter Event
The three-time national champion helped Team USA win the 200-meter event and the 4×100-meter relay at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
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.”
While 2019 has been challenging, it pales in comparison to everything we’ve been through thus far. You’re going to have to face a lion at the Olympic Trials, and I doubt anyone can help you accomplish it.
This is the toughest team in the world to make, and it shows. These are neither the world championships or the U.S. championships.
On Saturday, the 17-year-old Knighton stunned the athletic world by winning his 200-meter heat, defeating Lyles in a time of 19.88 seconds to set a new under-20 world record, breaking the previous mark set by Usain Bolt.
During Sunday’s championship, he dropped the time once again. 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.
He now holds the record for being the second-fastest sprinter in history among athletes aged 18 and under thanks to his remarkable performance.
In fact, since Jim Ryun raced the 1500 metres in the 1964 Olympics, Knighton will be the youngest American male to compete in track and field at the Olympics.
As of right now, it still doesn’t feel real to 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.
Bednarek, at 22 years old, qualified for the Olympic team by running a new personal best. The alumnus of Indian Hills Community College placed fourth in the 100 metres but made amends by placing second or third in the 200 metres at Hayward Field.
I’m at a loss for words,” Bednarek remarked. I mean, I made the squad and I came in second. To put it simply, I’m relieved that occurred. I was excited to get off to a good start and just attempt to hold onto the lead, but then I hit a snag. I know there are many of little things I can improve upon till the next time.