After blazing a scorching pace to win his heat on Monday, reigning world champion Noah Lyles demonstrated that he had no intention of relinquishing his 200-meter gold.
The sprinting showman finished in 19.98 seconds to go to Tuesday’s semi-finals. He did it by gliding around the curve and waving his finger at the rest of the field down the straight.
Olympic bronze medalist Lyles, who recently turned 25, admitted that the three-day wait to compete in front of his home crowd in Eugene, Oregon, gave him the butterflies.
It’s predicted that his rivalry with fellow American Erriyon Knighton would set off a pyrotechnics display.
When Lyles beat him down the line to win the national title last month, denying the 18-year-old a spot on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics, Knighton stormed off during the post-race interview.
On Monday, Knighton got out to a fast start before slowing down around the halfway point and winning his heat in 20.01 seconds.
Knighton added, “I cannot ask for more; I am where I want to be.” “This has been one of, if not my best year, and I’m really pleased.”
Knighton’s time was matched in his heat by Alexander Ogando, who helped the Dominican Republic win gold in the 4x400m mixed relay on Friday. Ogando breezed by US Olympic silver medalist Kenny Bednarek down the straight in his heat.
Fred Kerley won his heat by jogging to the finish line two days after leading an American sweep of the 100m, but he claimed to be “still in recovery mode.”