Noah Lyles is working on and off of the track to grow the sport of track and field. The 200m American Record Holder has not been afraid to showcase his personality these past few years. His originality and energy have brought quite a bit of new attention to the sport. He is becoming one of the key ambassadors to the sport.
Lyles’ superhuman performances are what have given him such a strong voice in the sport.
Lyles is currently the American Record Holder and third fastest all-time over 200 meters with his blistering 19.31 personal best. He now ranks only behind Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt. He has already won two world titles in the distance, as well as an Olympic Bronze Medal.
Lyles has made it clear that he is pursuing that 200m World Record. He wants to be the king of the 200 meters. He even recently tied Usain Bolt for the most sub-20 second 200m performances of all time.
Beyond just the 200m dominance, Lyles is beginning to compete more in the 100 meters. He recently just made the US team in the 100m with a third place finish at the US Championships. What makes this even more impressive is that Lyles actually had COVID-19 within a week of the competition. He was able to still navigate the rounds and come away with a qualifier for the World Championships.
Clearly, Noah Lyles is heading towards greatness in the sprint events. If he continues his dominance in the 200m, there could be a new World Record Holder soon enough. Don’t forget about the 100m either, as Lyles’ improving start could lead to even more success in that event.
A Spectacle On the Track
Part of what makes Noah Lyles so incredible to watch is the way he handles himself on the track. He is not afraid to let his personality emerge.
When viewing a Noah Lyles race, it is noticeable just how unique he is. Instead of the typical quiet focus that many athletes maintain before the race, Lyles will hype up and interact with the crowd. He brings so much energy into any stadium that he is in that it is infectious.
His pre-race moves are only a prelude to the excitement that comes with his post-race celebrations. Whether it is striking a pose as he crosses the line, or ripping his shirt off after breaking the American Record, it is almost always pure energy.
What is the significance of all this energy? Noah Lyles provides track with a refreshing splash of personality. The sport benefits greatly from athletes showing their emotions and real personalities, and it seems Noah Lyles does exactly that. It makes any competition that much more exciting for the viewer, as they can see more of the story behind the performance.
Noah Lyles is changing track and field just as much off the track as he is on the track. He has a unique vision for how the sport needs to grow, and uses that to make a difference.
In the current structure that the sport is in, there is something left to be desired. Track and field is the most participated-in sport in America, yet it is barely in the top-10 most popular US sports on its best of days. Clearly, something needs to change in order to retain these fans.
Lyles’ vision is helping to change this. His unique ideas and energy make track and field a much more entertaining product for the average viewer. It provides that extra step that is needed to make track and field more of an experience for the viewer.
A specific example of Lyles’ unique concepts are the new athlete walk-ins that he has been organizing at meets. Similar to how NFL players walk in on game day, track and field athletes can now walk in on meet day and have their personality show through their outfits. It gives an extra opportunity for the media to tell more of a story behind the athletes, giving the viewer an extra peak into who the athletes really are.
Ultimately, Noah Lyles will leave behind a legacy that is larger than just his athletic accomplishments. He is changing the sport as a whole, which could provide new opportunities for other athletes and fans.
His energy is unmatched, and it is a main reason why he is becoming an ambassador to the sport. Lyles is big enough now that many people from outside of the sport now know him. His huge popularity could be transformational for track and field.
As for his athletic accomplishments in track and field itself, Lyles is still building on a remarkable athletic career. The two-time 200m World Champion is in his prime and could have much more in store in the World Championships this coming August, and the Paris Olympics next Summer.
Stay tuned for further professional Track & Field content, including meet previews, race analysis, and season projections.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.
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