Michael Norman smiles for a photo at the 61st Mt. SAC Relays on April 20, 2019 in Torrance, Calif.
Noah Lyles is already an early favorite to win the 200-meter at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and on Thursday he made his season debut in the event at the Diamond League stop in Rome.
In the end, however, it was teammate and fellow Olympic hopeful Michael Norman who won in a highly-anticipated matchup between two of the country’s top sprinters and proved that he, too, is one to watch out for at the distance.
Norman ran a new world-leading and personal best time of 19.70 seconds and set a meet record with the victory. He just edged Lyles, who finished in second place by a hair in 19.72 seconds.
The 21-year-old Lyles — a 2014 Youth Olympic champion — was 3-0 against Norman, also 21, in the 200-meter until Thursday.
Lyles hadn’t lost a 200 since the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field.
Also coming away with a victory on Thursday was defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. The field for the event was impressive, with entries from every Olympic and world champion since 2013. Muhammad, who holds the year’s world-leading time, blew them all away with a time of 53.67 seconds for her second Diamond League win of the year. Teammate Shamier Little finished in second with a season’s best time of 54.50 seconds and reigning world champion Kori Carter ended up just outside the top three with a time of 55.09 seconds.
World leader Omar Craddock claimed another victory for the U.S. in the men’s triple jump. In a tight competition, Craddock had a best distance of 17.50 meters to top Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo with 17.47 meters. Coming in third was Craddock’s teammate, Donald Scott, at 17.43 meters.
Several other U.S. athletes finished out the day in the top three.
Donavan Brazier also won the men’s 800-meter. The national champ at the distance indoors got his first Diamond League win, leaning in to finish in a new world-leading time of 1:43.63, just .02 seconds in front of Botswana’s Nijel Amos.
Olympian Darrell Hill took second in the men’s shot put with a throw of 21.71 meters, just behind Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki who put up a meet record and personal best throw of 21.97 meters. American Joe Kovacs finished fourth with a throw of 21.46.
2012 Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese was third in the long jump with a best jump of 6.76 meters, Olympic medalist Sandi Morris cleared 4.66 meters to take second in the women’s pole vault and Aleia Hobbs was third in the women’s 100-meter with a time of 11.12 seconds.