Noah Lyles runs under Arion Knighton, adding a new level to his opponent

Just before noon on Sunday, Noah Lyles finished his T.C. with the fastest 200-meter individual best runner. Williams High in Alexandria. Standing right to his left in the starting lineup of the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships was Arien Knighton, who broke the junior record of 18-year-old Usain Bolt and became the fourth fastest man to overtake Liles earlier this year. 200 m.

As he roared around the corner, Lyles could see Knighton in front of him. The Hayward Field crowd in Eugene, Ore may have felt a permanent change in the event but not the Lions. He believed – he knew – that he would not allow Knighton to assume his status as the American 200-meter king, at least not on Sunday. Lyles thought to herself, “I’m going to catch him.”

The U.S. Championships provided an eventful preview of next month’s World Championships, also in Eugene – the first time the competition took place on American soil. Sidney McLaughlin pushed further into the 400 hurdles. Athing Mu survived a rare challenge and she showed her standard 800-meter shine. Fred Kerley raised his world class record in the small sprint. Devon Allen, the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, squeaked into the World Championships. Carrie Richardson was surprised by her inability to qualify for the World Championships in the 100 or 200.

The most electrifying moment should be when Lyles refuses to snatch his crown from Knighton. Knighton looked ready to cross the race with a torch. With his wicked finishing speed, his bravery and his words, Lyles gave birth to him a rival.

The Lions chased, caught and defeated Knighton in 19.69 seconds to win the third consecutive U.S. Championship in 200. On the last line, Lyles pointed to the clock on Knight’s face which showed his time was 19.67, smiling as he broke the tape. He didn’t just keep his title. He spike football.

Lyles, 24, has lost just two 200 finals as a professional, a Diamond League race Michael Norman and the Tokyo Olympic final, where he won a bronze medal. Many believed that Knighton would do this three Sundays. He broke Bolt’s under-20 record of 200 years. During a brief visit to LSU this spring, Knighton clocked a staggering 19.49 seconds, with only three men batting – and 0.01 seconds better than the Lions’ best.

Lyles and Knighton race for Adidas, and Lyles was instant to complement and support his young rival. But Lyles’ charismatic nature can hide his competitiveness. He saw Knighton coming, and he did not blink.

“When it’s time to stand in line, I’ll take it,” Lyles said at a meeting in New York two weeks ago. “I know it automatically. I’ll always be ready.”

In the first 100 meters, the Lions trailed by half in the field – along with his brother Josephus, who finished fifth in 19.93, the best result of his career. But he can say that he has defended more than his rivals. He was not scared. He made a very long pipe on the turn but he recovered by the next step.

“He got to the point where I knew I was going to overtake him,” Lyles said. “I knew the race was over.”

Lions went ahead of the pack, pulled Knight within the very last 30 meters and passed him into the last 10 – so secure in his victory that he glanced at Knight and pointed to the clock as he crossed the line.

“I’m pointing the finger at all those people who have been suspicious of me for years and years,” Lyles later said. “Everyone who keeps saying, ‘He’s out of the picture.’ Even NBC doesn’t want to talk about me anymore. That’s fine, though. I’ll let you know.

Once he crossed, Lyles found the camera and shouted “Always fast!” As he held his watch. For an interview with NBC, Lyles stood on the track next to Knighton and third-ranked finisher Kerley, who qualified two days after the world’s fastest 100 runs in 200 this year.

“I do what I have to do to win,” Lyles said. “Arien got the best turn from me. I’m not worried about that. I saw that he had reached his high speed and I said, ‘I have more speed.’ I said: ‘I’m going to catch him. It’s just going to take the remaining 100. ’That’s what I did.

The interviewer turned to Knighton and asked about his expectations for the World Championships.

“Just come back and win,” he said. “The job is not done. It never ends.”

Knighton walked away, and Lyles yelled at him, “It’s never over!”

“He just came and picked me up,” Knighton said later. “He’s better than me in that race. That’s all. “

McLaughlin, 22, continued to reconstruct what was possible while removing 10 obstacles on a lap around the track. On Saturday evening, she reset her world record for the second time since being seized in U.S. tests last summer. That night, as record holder Dalilah Muhammad ran into the lane next to her, McLaughlin reduced it to 51.90 seconds. At the Olympics, McLaughlin broke her record at 51.46.

She advanced to 51.41 in the final on Saturday. What looked different was not her speed, at least not more than usual, but McLaughlin’s annoying lack of stress was necessary. An acre ahead of her rivals when Muhammad byeed her to the World Championships, McLaughlin traveled to the finish line and broke her record by accident.

“I knew it was going to happen fast,” she said. “I looked at the time, and I was really happy with it, very slowly making progress in the low and low periods. There are still some things I can work on. I think there is a little more in the tank. Hopefully when the time comes we can empty it completely. ”

The only reason McLaughlin can’t be considered the most influential woman in the United States is because of Mu, a fellow Tokyo doubles gold medalist. She repeated in atypical fashion as the US champion in the 800 meters: it looks like she will have to try.

Mu can be the best runner in the world, at any distance. She usually destroys the field. Under the homestretch on Sunday, Aji Wilson pushed her – and crossed her with 30 meters left. Mula faces some challenges, but she has proven that she can face them. She took the lead again and gave Wilson an edge from 1: 57.16 to 1: 57.23.

“I’m glad I fought,” Mu said. “I’m glad my legs are coming back and running.”

The close call for Mu is considered surprising, but it faded with the shock of the championship. Three days after failing to make it to the 100 preliminary rounds, Richardson completed the 200 semifinal heat in 22.47 seconds and failed to reach the final. A year after she lost the Olympics after a positive marijuana test in the US, Richardson will not be competing in the World Championships just for the confusing reason of not being fast.

Two weeks ago, Richardson won the NYC Grand Prix 200m flat in 22 seconds and ran 100 in 10.85, both of which would have taken her worldwide.

It’s hard to figure out what went wrong. Richardson addressed reporters in Eugene only to punish them and did not ask questions or explain her performance.

“When you interview people, you have to respect all the players more,” she said. “खेळाडू Players get more respect than when you come and throw cameras at their faces. Understand how an athlete works and then ask your questions. ”

Her absence paved the way for Abby Steiner of Kentucky to emerge as a potential superstar. Steiner won the 200 in 21.77 seconds, 0.03 faster than the NCAA record she won the college title. “At the start of the college season, a lot of people put limits on you, to say you’re burned out,” Steiner said.

Gabby Thomas, the 200-meter US champion and Olympic bronze medalist, finished eighth and revealed in tears to reporters that she had a Grade 2 hamstring torn two weeks ago. Thomas said, “I was working so hard to get here and it all took just a second. “I did my best.”

The final day set in the direction of 110 hurdles, where Allen was expected to challenge the world record. In New York two weeks ago, Allen ran 12.84 seconds, the third-fastest time and 0.04 behind the record. Sweetening the deal for the television execs, Allen is a two-time Olympian and former Oregon wide receiver who signed with the Eagles during Ducks Pro Day.