Noah Lyles Breaks Usain Bolt’s Record For Most Sub-20 For 200 Meters

By Chris Chavez

July 23, 2023

Two-time world champion Noah Lyles surpassed Usain Bolt for the most wind-legal sub-20s performances with his 19.47s win at the London Diamond League.

What you need to know:

– Lyles broke 20 seconds for the 35th time in his career. His 19.47s was the third-best time of his career behind his 19.31s American record at last year’s world championships and the 19.46s that he ran at the 2022 Monaco Diamond League.

– 19.47s is also the 10th-best performance in history and bumps Erriyon Knighton’s 19.49s to No. 11. Lyles now owns three of the top 10 times in history. Bolt still has four – including the 19.19s world record from the 2009 world championships in Berlin and the 19.30s then-world record from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

– 20-year-old Letsile Tebogo of Botswana was just three hundredths behind Lyles and broke the African record in 19.50s. Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks held the previous African record, who ran 19.68s for a silver medal behind Michael Johnson at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

– Zharnel Hughes, who broke the British 100m record last month, finished third in 19.73s and broke John Regis’ 19.87s British 200m record, which stood since 1994.

What they said afterward:

– Noah Lyles: “The race was great. It’s been a long time since I’ve had competition. It’s been a long time since hadn’t been the first person coming off the turn. When I was coming off the turn, for a little bit I was like, ‘Did I have a good turn?’ But in my head, I was like, ‘No, I reached 10m in 7 steps.’ It wasn’t a bad start or 100. They were just ready to go. I ain’t got a problem with that because the first 100m is my weakest part of the race. Once I start moving on the turn, that’s when all the butterflies and all the fireworks start going off. They were ready for it. But at the same time, just because you’re ready for it, doesn’t mean you can’t handle it.”

– Zharnel Hughes (via Diamond League Flash Quotes): “I did it again - I predicted it I wrote it down that exact time this morning, at about 9:30 a.m. I wanted to get the British record here on home soil and I did it. I don't care about winning, as long as I execute the time that my coach wanted and get the British record. We've got things I can work on but I executed my race and that was to get to 60m as fast as possible then just maintain from there. I think Noah was playing off me slightly; he was ready to chase me down!”

What’s next:

Lyles will look to join Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix as three-time 200m world champions. He will be running the 100m first at the world championships in Budapest. The 100m final is slated for Sunday, Aug. 20. The 200m will start three days later. The 200m final is Friday, Aug. 25.

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.