(L-R) Noah Lyles and Josephus Lyles pose for a photo at the 2020 Diamond League meeting on Aug.14, 2020 in Monaco.
Noah Lyles showed he didn’t need any shortcuts to drop a blazing-fast time. The defending world champ kicked off the delayed Diamond League season with a win and world-leading time of 19.76 seconds in the men’s 200-meter Friday in Monaco.
The win comes a little more than a month after Lyles appeared to win the virtual Inspiration Games in 18.90 seconds, a time that would have shattered Usain Bolt’s world record. Alas, it turned out Lyles had raced in the wrong lane and only run 185 meters that day.
He didn’t need any help Friday, with his time besting that of younger brother and second-place finish Josephus Lyles by more than a half second. In his first Diamond League race against his brother, Josephus finished second with a time of 20.30.
Josephus Lyles, who is primarily a 400-meter runner, was a world junior champion in the 4x400 in 2014.
The Lyles brothers were one of three U.S. pairs to go 1-2 while seven Americans reached the podium as track and field’s elite global circuit resumed with in-person competition. The series had been scheduled to begin in April, but ultimately six events had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to Monaco, Diamond League stops in Norway and Switzerland featured virtual competitions. The series now continues with six more events scheduled through October.
In one of the day’s most anticipated races, the men’s 800-meter featured the top four runners from last year’s world championships.
Defending world champion Donavan Brazier proved victorious again, holding off the all-star field to win with a world-leading time of 1:43.15. Fellow American Bryce Hoppel, who finished fourth at the world championships, stayed on his compatriot’s heels to finish second with a personal best of 1:43.23.
“I’m racing everybody on the West Coast and I don’t really know where I’m at,” Brazier said, according to the World Athletics website. “It’s easy to win these competitions, but coming here and four of the top eight guys are in this race, so I’m really happy. It was exciting.”
Also going 1-2 were Lynna Irby and Wadeline Jonathas in the women’s 400. Irby, an NCAA champion in the event for Georgia, won with a world leading time of 50.50 seconds. It was her first Diamond League victory. Jonathas, herself an NCAA champ for South Carolina, was second, though nearly a second behind, with a season’s best time of 51.40.
Former LSU star Aleia Hobbs finished second in the women’s 100-meter, her time of 11.28 seconds trailing that of winner Ajla del Ponte of Switzerland by 0.12. The result marked Hobbs’ second podium finish in Diamond League competition after winning a 100-meter race in 2019 in Shanghai.
Defending world champion Grant Holloway was 0.01 seconds off the podium, finishing fourth in the 110-meter hurdles with a season’s best time of 13.19 seasons.
Sam Kendricks, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time defending champ in men’s pole vault, was scheduled to compete Friday but did not start. According to a tweet from the World Athletics account, Kendricks’ poles didn’t make it to the meet.
The Diamond League schedule continues Aug. 23 in Stockholm.