Noah Lyles & Shericka Jackson Repeat as 200m World Champions in Budapest

BUDAPEST, Hungary – It’s official: for the first time since Usain Bolt at the 2016 Olympics, track & field has a King of the Sprints and his name is Noah Lyles. Since Bolt’s final gold medal in Rio seven years ago, no man had ever won the 100 and 200 meters at the same World Championships or Olympics. Lyles brought that drought to an end on Friday night in Budapest, winning his third straight world title in the 200 meters in 19.51 and unifying the short sprint titles. Lyles is also the first men’s runner to win two individual golds at the same World Championships since Bolt (100/200) and Mo Farah (5k/10k) in Beijing in 2015.

Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson could not quite replicate Lyles’ 100/200 double on the women’s side but was dazzling in her own way in Budapest. After finishing 2nd in the 100 meters behind Sha’Carri Richardson on Monday, Jackson returned with a vengeance in her specialty and repeated as world champion in 21.41 – the second-fastest time in history behind only Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34 world record from the 1988 Olympics. Jackson, who ran 21.45 at last year’s Worlds in Eugene, now owns the #2 and #3 times ever.

Behind Lyles, Erriyon Knighton earned his second World Championship medal, running a season’s best of 19.75 for the silver. Not yet 20 years old, Knighton has already finished 4th, 3rd, and now 2nd in his three global 200m finals. Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo, who is only 20 himself, took bronze in 19.81 to add to the silver he won in the 100 on Sunday.

On the women’s side, US champ Gabby Thomas, who missed the 2022 Worlds due to injury, ran 21.81 for silver with 100m champ Richardson taking bronze in a personal best of 21.92 – the only other women under 20 seconds on the night.

Analysis below the race videos and results.

Men’s race

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OFFICIAL RESULT – Wind -0.225 Aug 2023, 21:50
P ▲ Athlete Nat Mark Reaction Time False Start
1 USA 19.52  0.144
2 USA 19.75  0.138
3 BOT 19.81  0.141
4 GBR 20.02  0.142
5 USA 20.07  0.163
6 CAN 20.14  0.170
7 DOM 20.23  0.145
8 JAM 20.40  0.147
9 LBR 20.57  0.163

Women’s race

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OFFICIAL RESULT – Wind +0.125 Aug 2023, 21:40
P ▲ Athlete Nat Mark Reaction Time False Start
1 JAM 21.41 CR 0.161
2 USA 21.81  0.162
3 USA 21.92 PB 0.171
4 LCA 22.05  0.159
5 GBR 22.16 PB 0.148
6 BAH 22.29  0.171
7 GBR 22.34  0.131
8 CIV 22.64  0.179

Lyles now among legendary company

Lyles’ third 200m title vaults him into rare territory. He joins Bolt (four titles) as the only man to win more than two 200m gold medals at Worlds. His combined total of four men’s individual sprint titles is tied for third-most in World Championship history, behind only Bolt and Michael Johnson.

Most men’s individual sprint titles at World Championships

Athlete Wins
Usain Bolt 7 (’09 100, ’13 100, ’15 100, ’09 200, ’11 200, ’13 200, ’15 200)
Michael Johnson 6 (’91 200, ’95 200, ’93 400, ’95 400, ’97 400, ’99 400)
Noah Lyles 4 (’23 100, ’19 200, ’22 200, ’23 200)
Maurice Greene 4 (’97 100, ’99 100, ’01 100, ’99 200)
Embed from Getty Images

There is still one thing separating Lyles from the other men on that list: an Olympic gold medal. He will get his next crack one year from now in Paris. But he is, undoubtedly, track & field royalty now after his exploits in Budapest.

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Before the meet, Lyles predicted he would run 9.65 and 19.10, and while he admitted he was hoping to run faster than his 19.52 tonight, his feelings were different than when he won his first world title in 2019 and could not watch the race back for months because he “only” ran 19.83.

“I still believe I have the ability to [break the world record], it’s just after my sixth race [at Worlds] and still running 19.5, I can’t be sad with that,” Lyles said.

Lyles’ comments illustrate just how impressive the record he is targeting truly is. Bolt set the 200m world record twice (19.30 in at the 2008 Olympics, 19.19 at the 2009 Worlds) in global finals and both times it was in Bolt’s eighth race in six days – yes, there used to be four rounds in the 100 and 200.

Jackson knows she is close to the WR

This was the second straight year Jackson has put a scare into the world record, and when the race concluded, it was fascinating to see Jackson’s reaction. Upon crossing the finish line, she stared at the scoreboard, not smiling and not celebrating her victory – in marked contrast to Gabby Thomas’ reaction, whose jaw dropped when she saw Jackson’s time.

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But Jackson later explained that, out of habit, she often doesn’t react to times until she has watched the race back and confirmed the wind is legal. In Budapest, Jackson said she wrote two times on her bib – one of them was 21.40 and one of them was faster – and that she couldn’t be mad with coming close to 21.40, even if she wanted the world record.

“When I crossed the line and I saw the time, I was like ugh…I’m close, I’m close,” Jackson said. “…I was super exhausted, though.”

Jackson was also asked whether she considered herself the world record holder given many in the sport believe FloJo’s world record may have been aided by performance-enhancing drugs.

“I am not one of those athletes who will question anybody’s world record,” Jackson said. “If a person has never failed a test, I cannot comment on any world record. It’s the world record. When you see that time comes up, you will see championship record, world record. So I am not the world record holder. I am a championship record holder.”

Men’s medalists’ press conference

Women’s medalists’ press conference

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