Noah Lyles breaks Michael Johnson’s U.S. record that stood since 1996

Noah Lyles breaks Michael Johnson’s U.S. record that stood since 1996

Published July 23, 2022
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The U.S. swept the men’s 200m final at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., with Noah Lyles setting a new U.S. record. At left is bronze medalist Erriyon Knighton; at right is silver medalist Kenneth Bednarek. Hannah Peters/Getty Images for World Athletics hide caption

The U.S. swept the men’s 200m final at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., with Noah Lyles setting a new U.S. record. At left is bronze medalist Erriyon Knighton; at right is silver medalist Kenneth Bednarek.

Noah Lyles knew he had run the best race of his life — and maybe the best 200 meters any American had ever run. He finished so far ahead of the other runners in Thursday night’s final at the World Athletics Championships that after crossing the finish line, he turned to stare down his only true opponent: the clock.

But for agonizing moments, the on-field clock stubbornly showed Lyles’ unofficial time as 19.32. The mark would elate any other runner in the world, but it was also the same time Michael Johnson set in the 200 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Since then, it has seemed unassailable. Until now.