Noah Lyles Edges Trayvon Bromell in 60m at NBIGP as He Begins Chase of 100/200 Double in 2023

By Jonathan Gault
February 4, 2023

BOSTON – 100-meter sprinters of the world, consider yourself on notice. Noah Lyles is coming for you.

Two years ago, Lyles chased Olympic gold in the 100 and 200 meters. It didn’t happen: after a frustrating spring in which he failed to break 10 seconds in seven races, Lyles’ dream died with a 7th-place finish in the 100m at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene.

Lyles began with the same goal last year: double gold at the Worlds in Eugene. Then Erriyon Knighton dropped a 19.49 in April. Lyles needed to prioritize the 200. The plan worked – he won his second straight world title in July, running 19.31 to break Michael Johnson’s iconic American record.

Once again, Lyles says he is targeting the 100/200 double this year. And while it is very early days – more than six months until the World Championships in Budapest in late August – Lyles sent a message on Saturday evening at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix at The TRACK in Boston, shaving .04 off his 60-meter personal best to run 6.51 and edge Trayvon Bromell by two-thousandths of a second.

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That is not supposed to happen. Bromell, the 2016 World Indoor champion at 60m and last year’s World Champs bronze medalist at 100m, has the better start. 60 meters should not be enough distance for Lyles’ greatest asset – his ability to hold his blistering top-end speed – to come into play.

Didn’t matter. Bromell started faster, but Lyles, one lane to his left, transitioned quickly and outleaned him at the line. After caroming into the red padding past the finish line, Lyles took a quick glance at the scoreboard and confirmed his victory before taking off back down the straightaway, bouncing around with glee. It was an outsize celebration for an indoor 60-meter race on the first weekend of February. But for Lyles it represented a huge breakthrough in an event he has struggled to master – one he hopes will be multiplied once he heads into the longer events outdoors.

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Getting it Right in the 100

“It’s been so many years when you’re just trying to do that, trying to do that and it’s just coming up short,” Lyles said. “And now it’s actually happening, it’s like this is it, this is it! This is the moment I’ve been working seven years for…Last year exactly at this meet, I made that little difference in the 60 and it paid off huge in the 200 outdoors. So it’s all coming together.”

Lyles’ work is far from done. It’s a long, hard road to 100/200 gold in Budapest – a double no one outside of Bolt has pulled off in the last 15 years. It will only get harder from here. World 100m champion Fred Kerley and Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs await outdoors (Jacobs, who withdrew from the 2022 Worlds with a thigh injury, opened up his 2023 campaign with a 6.57 win in Poland on Saturday). Knighton isn’t going anywhere in the 200. More immediately, Lyles will face world record holder Christian Coleman in the 60 meters at Millrose next weekend.

“I just faced one world champion in the 60 and I’m going against another one and he’s even faster. I feel like I’m Goku facing the next monster,” Lyles said, drawing an analogy to his beloved Dragon Ball

Bromell Had a Bad Start to Season

Bromell will be back with a vengeance, too. With his start, he has a significant advantage over Lyles in the 60. He felt he let himself down today.

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“It was terrible,” Bromell said. “It was a big disappointment for me. It’s not acceptable for my caliber of starts and obviously how I transitioned as well during the race, it wasn’t a good one…I’m trying to win the 100 [this year]. I can’t be losing no races. If I want to be dominant, if I want to be the best, I can’t take no L’s.”

Lyles has chops in the 100 meters. He was the US champion as a 20-year-old in 2018. He was the Diamond League champion a year later. His personal best, 9.86, puts him behind some of the big boys of the event — but it came from a race in Shanghai in 2019 in which he beat that year’s eventual world champion, Coleman. Yet he has never made a US 100-meter team, let alone stood atop a global podium.

Lyles believes that after the fits and starts of trying the double in 2021 and 2022, he’s finally ready to make it happen in 2023. After COVID pandemic interrupted his training in 2020 and a “down” year in 2021 (which still included a US title, an Olympic bronze, and a 19.52 season’s best), the 25-year-old says he’s in the best possible spot right now.

“I had the year of 2021 and the year of 2022 built on top of each other and it has produced great results,” Lyles said. “I’m in a better place than I ever was. Training is producing faster times, stronger results. It’s like hey, if you want a year to try it, this is the year.”

Even without Lyles, the men’s 100 meters is the best it’s been since You-Know-Who retired: a proven corps of Americans, 21-year-old phenom Oblique Seville leading a Jamaican resurgence, and Jacobs, who just shows up and wins gold medals. Adding Lyles is like dropping a shot of espresso into an already potent cocktail. Who knows if he’ll even make the team – remember, the US went 1-2-3 at Worlds last year – but it sure is going to be fun finding out.

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