Noah Lyles On What We Learned In His New Documentary Series + World Championship and World Record Talk

The CITIUS MAG Podcast

August 17, 2023

"Personally, it's always been the mission… We're willing to be patient. But we're also very keen on what the mission is. It’s not to stop at championships. It's not to stop at fast times. It's not to stop at American Records. It's not to get content. We are here to completely push the boundary every time."

Two-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Noah Lyles joins the CITIUS MAG Podcast to break down all of the biggest revelations in his new two-part documentary series with NBC Sports. "Untitled: The Noah Lyles Project" premieres on Friday, August 18 exclusively on Peacock. We managed to get an advanced look at the documentary and were able to record this interview before the series debuts.

At the upcoming World Championships in Budapest, Lyles will attempt to defend his 200m world title and has been open about the fact that he is trying to break Usain Bolt’s 200m world record. The documentary follows him in training, at the New York City Grand Prix, the U.S. Championship and Paris Diamond League.

Part II of the documentary series will follow him through the World Championships and will air on Friday, September 15 – one day before the Diamond League Final at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Host: Chris Chavez | @Chris_J_Chavez on Instagram

Co-Host: Katelyn Hutchison | @_kxnaomi on Instagram

Guest: Noah Lyles | @nojo18 on Instagram

Stay up to date on CITIUS MAG’s World Championships coverage:

CITIUS MAG LIVE AT WORLDS: Our hit show from last year is back! The way we described it was “think of the TODAY Show but for track and field die-hard fans” and it delivered, featuring interviews with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Rai Benjamin, Michael Johnson, Seb Coe, Hellen Obiri, Malcolm Gladwell and many more notable friends. And this time around should be no different – every day of the World Championships, we will be inviting athletes, coaches and fellow media personalities to sit back and chat with Chris Chavez and Kyle Merber.

The show will air on the CITIUS MAG YouTube Channel between the morning and evening sessions of competition (Every day at 8 a.m. EST in the U.S.)

CHAMPS CHATS ON THE CITIUS MAG PODCAST DAILYThe CITIUS MAG team of Chris, Kyle, David McCarthy, Jasmine Todd and Katelyn Hutchison will unpack all of the day’s biggest surprises and offer up their insights and analysis from being at the new National Athletics Centre and interviewing athletes each day. The podcast recording will be streamed on YouTube at the end of every day and will be also available on The CITIUS MAG Podcast feed on Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you listen to shows.

MORNING RUNS: If you’re in Budapest, there will be two chances to catch some miles with the CITIUS MAG team in partnership with ASICS: one on Aug. 21 and another on Aug. 24. We’ll have giveaways, coffee and treats for people who are in town. The runs will start at 8 a.m. from ASICS House at Erzsébet tér, 1051 Budapest.

DAILY CITIUS MAG NEWSLETTER: David Melly will recap all of the biggest moments, highlighting his must-watch athletes and events for each day while also pulling together some of our best content, photos and social moments that the CITIUS MAG team captures. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

CITIUS MAG's coverage of the 2023 World Athletics Championships is powered by ASICS.

CITIUS MAG Podcast - Noah Lyles PodcastCITIUS MAG Podcast - Noah Lyles Podcast


We got an advanced look at the documentary. First off, fantastic work. It turned out awesome! Part one is out. People see the performances on the track, but this is the behind-the-scenes stuff. So you made it happen?

“I got back into my YouTube channel and we started pumping out things. So before we posted the first unseen journey on New York, I got everything and sent it to my agent and was like, ‘Mark, you can't tell me that there isn't something here’. I remember watching it for the first time and was just like, ‘this is a movie and this is my local guy doing this production work’. You know, this isn’t a high achieving award winning producer making something for a huge streaming service–this is just YouTube. So I'm like, ‘we’ve got to be able to get something going here’...

It just so happened that we have a really good connection with NBC, me and my agent. He showed them and they were like, ‘oh, we would love to jump in!’. So they introduced us to somebody who they used to work with, Scott, who is the producer, the lead producer on this project, and he saw it and fell in love with it. And he was like, I want to help as much as possible, which you don't really see that in, you know, our line of work, you know, track and field. You don't see that type of energy come for our stuff. But, you know, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we all knew he was there. You know, like we we know that there's stories to be told. These are exciting moments that, you know, you're on pins and needles as you're watching these athletes get into the blocks. Anticipation is real. And just knowing that there's a story behind it.”

I think what was most interesting for me is how long you've been working with some of these people. How did you get lucky enough to pick the right people the first time? Because I feel like a lot of people have to go through transitions with different agents, different coaches, different whatever. But you seem to have picked the right group of people and you kept them around you for so long. So how did that happen?

“The docu series shows a good job of the people I have chosen, but it doesn't show all the people that we haven't chosen. You know, these are the people who have made it this far and we've worked really well together. But there's a lot of positions that were up for grabs that we were trying to have people fit into and it was just not working–whether that was because of business, money, personalities. If somebody is bringing around bad energy, I can't have that energy around me. You know, I have to be upright. I need to always be thinking ahead. I need to have the people around me to boost me and vice versa. So we've had a lot of trial and error, it's not always going to be the first person is going to be the best pick…

If you don't have the mindset of wanting to be the very best and are willing to see what's beyond the horizon of being the best, your chances of being around me are dwindling. I constantly am on the hunt for achievement. Working smarter, not harder. And being the best version of myself. And I need everybody to think that way, whether it comes to my chiropractor, my agent, my coach, or my manager.”

There's immediately a lot of world record talk. Right from the very beginning, Diana says the mission is to break the world record in the 200m. Over the course of the documentary, we learn a bit more of the progression that it takes to get there. When was that point where it's like, ‘hey everyone, it's fair game. This is the mission now’?

“Personally, it's always been the mission… We're willing to be patient. But we're also very keen on what the mission is. It’s not to stop at championships. It's not to stop at fast times. It's not to stop at American Records. It's not to get content. We are here to completely push the boundary every time. And again, I'm very vocal about that. And I've been saying that in a lot more interviews as we get closer. I've posted what my time goals are for the World Championships. I'm here to run 9.65 and I'm here to run 19.10.

The crazy thing is it causes so much controversy. Why should my dream or belief cause controversy with you? It has nothing to do with you. If I don't get it, and if I do get it, how does it change your life? So many people want to have an opinion on it. And so many people want to tell me what I can and can't do. But you know what they can’t tell me? What I ran in practice yesterday. And I bet that's the information you need to know if I'm going to actually run it or not.”

In the documentary you had Bolt whisper something in your ear. Can you tell us what that was and what he said to you?

‘Keep your same attitude. The sport needs that shit. We need personality. Alright.’

That was exactly what he said. 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.”

To have that moment with Bolt–was that something like, ‘oh, alright cool. I got approval from the big man’? You were never chasing that or seeking that, but it just came as a result of your success and he recognized it.

You know, you still want to be able to have respect, to be able to go to the other side. And I felt that's what that was. I've created my own path. I created my own way. And even though it's similar, it's not the same. It was nice to go to Jamaica and have Usain Bolt come up to me and say, ‘hey, keep doing what you're doing because the sport needs it’”

I know that you are trying to be a part of that group of people in the track and field world where people can look at you later down the line and be like, okay, like this is what Noah did to change this sport… What else do you feel like you can do or what else do you want to do? Because like you said, you're not the kind of person that just wants to stop somewhere. You want to continue to push yourself and elevate yourself.

“I remember Travis Scott showed up to watch [the 2022 World Championships]. I'm so hurt that I did not get to see him, but I had an American record to break that day. Nobody knew who this man was. Why was the red carpet not rolled out? Why was he the only one there? Why was there not special seating? Why did we not have a video of him showing up?... This is not a small thing. That man just packed 60,000 people into a stadium in Rome that is now no longer allowed to host conventions because they created an earthquake.

Why is that not the energy that we are putting into our own athletes, our own legends, and then bringing in people from other sports and other jobs that are also seen in high regard? If we can't start here with our own people, we are never going to get to other people.”

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.

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