Noah Lyles just keeps getting faster.
The 21-year-old from Gainesville, Florida, ran the fastest time in the world in the 200-meter last year and on Friday he set the mark for 2019 at the Diamond League stop in Lausanne, Switzerland, with an even better finish.
Lyles crushed his 2018 best time of 19.65 seconds, winning Friday’s race in a jaw-dropping 19.50 seconds to set a new meet and personal record and record the fourth-fastest time in history. The former Youth Olympic Games champion at the distance blew away the field, with Mexico’s Alex Quinonez coming in a distant second at 19.87 seconds to set a national record. Olympic silver medalist Andre de Grasse of Canada was third in 19.92 seconds.
Lyles’ time puts him behind only Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (19.19 in 2009) and Yohan Blake (19.26 in 2011), and four-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Famer Michael Johnson (19.32 in 1996), further building the anticipation of what he might do at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 when he is expected to make his Olympic debut.
“The track here is burning up. I’m feeling good here,” Lyles said. “Me and my coach have been working really hard. I know I’m running exactly what my coach wants me to run. It was a good, well-executed race. It was about getting out strong. There is nothing better than seeing the accomplishments of what you have put in. Each year I’m making a huge jump. I’m very satisfied. It’s time for the next race.”
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Also bringing home the win on Friday was Shamier Little, who claimed victory in the women’s 400-meter hurdles in Lausanne for the third year in a row with a season’s best time of 53.73 seconds. It was slightly slower than her time of 53.41 seconds at the event in 2018 and the 55.10 she ran in 2017 but not far from the current world lead of 53.61 set by fellow American Dalilah Muhammad, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, back in May in Doha, Qatar. Ashley Spencer, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in the event, finished third with a time of 54.11 seconds.
“I’m really tired after this race but thrilled to have won it,” Little said. “This is my fourth time in Lausanne and I love the atmosphere. I actually think it’s the loudest it’s ever been here.”
Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks was locked in a duel with Poland’s Piotr Lisek in the men’s pole vault as both cleared 5.95 meters, a new season’s best for Kendricks. Kendricks couldn’t clear 6.01 meters, however, which Lisek did to register a new world lead, personal best and meet record, and Kendricks was left with second place.
Daniel Roberts took second in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.11. Spain’s Orlando Ortega was just ahead with a time of 13.05 seconds.
The Diamond League season continues with the next stop on July 12 in Monaco.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.