Usain Bolt on Noah Lyles' 200m: I Won't Tell You How To Break The World Record

By Anderson Emerole

March 22, 2024

KINGSTON – CITIUS MAG is on-site in Jamaica with PUMA ahead of Champs, Jamaica’s high school championships and its biggest national sporting event. Ahead of the meet, we were able to briefly catch up with 100m and 200m world record holder Usain Bolt for a quick chat on life since retiring in 2017 and an assessment of the men’s 200m.

Noah Lyles, the three-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, has made it no secret that he wants to break Bolt’s 200m world record of 19.19 set at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. Lyles currently holds the American record and a personal best of 19.31 from his victory at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene.

Last year, while he was vocal about his mission to break the record, he also took on the 100m as a focus and came away with gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the World Championships in Budapest. It was a feat that no man had accomplished since Bolt in 2015. However, Lyles finished the season with a season’s best of 19.47 from the London Diamond League in July.

Lyles met Bolt last spring after racing and winning the Racers Grand Prix 200m in 19.67s. Bolt embraced the American and said to him, “Keep your same attitude. The sport needs that shit. We need personality." The moment was captured on camera and aired in Lyles' two-part documentary series with Peacock.

Last summer, Lyles discussed that moment on the CITIUS MAG Podcast saying: "It's very nice to have somebody almost pass on that source because, like you said, a lot of people do not like that energy. But at the same time, you want the sport to grow. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. It's one or the other. And there are some sports that they love people to be humble in, and there are some sports where they expect them to be very vocal and rowdy and aggressive. And for some reason they put track as the one that they believe should be humble. But to be honest, I don't think society should decide what humble is, because humble is an opinion.”"

Here’s what Bolt had to say about Lyles and the 200m possibility in 2024:

CITIUS MAG: People are talking about the world record. You’ve got Noah Lyles, Letsile Tebogo and Erriyon Knighton. How do you assess the landscape of sprinting right now?

USAIN BOLT: I think the guys are really doing well. It’s really intense, I must say. It’s not going to be easy. I feel like Noah feels like it’s easy running both events. It was never easy. I’ve said it and I’ve always said that it’s not easy running back-to-back events and then going out to break the world record because your body runs out of energy. I think the possibility is there because he came close at the (2022) World Championships. I think if he corrects a few things, I won’t say, he could get better. The possibility is there.

CITIUS MAG: You won’t say?

USAIN BOLT: I won’t tell you how to break the world record. (Laughs)

Anderson Emerole

Anderson Emerole is an analyst and contributor to CITIUS MAG. He runs The Final Leg, a YouTube channel with up-to-date commentary on track and field news.