Christian Coleman Edges Noah Lyles to Reclaim 60-Meter World Title in Glasgow

Coleman ran 6.41 to Lyles' 6.44 to become the third man to win two 60m world titles

GLASGOW, Scotland – It takes just six seconds to crown a world champion in the men’s 60-meter dash, barely enough time to take a deep breath. And things can change quickly in the quickest event in track & field.

Consider the case of Christian Coleman. Thirteen days ago, he was in trouble, beaten in his specialty event at the US championships in Albuquerque by Noah Lyles, the 200-meter star who until this year never had the start to challenge Coleman in the 60. Tonight, after running 6.41 seconds to defeat Lyles and to reclaim his title at the World Athletics Indoor Championships, Coleman was ascendant, offering a wry shrug and a bow to the Emirates Arena crowd as he basked in his own glory. 

(If you need a VPN to watch the race video below click here)

“I know I’ve got a lot more to do outdoors, but as far as the 60 goes, I feel like I’m the best ever,” Coleman told NBC’s Lewis Johnson.

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Quite a reversal from Albuquerque. 

And Coleman is not wrong. The winning margin of an elite 60-meter race is not much more than the blink of an eye (100 milliseconds) – sometimes less. Which is why it can be instructive to take the short and long view after a global championship.

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The immediate story: Coleman held firm as the last bulwark against Lyles’ utter domination of the short sprints. After sweeping the 100 and 200 meters at last summer’s outdoor World Championships in Budapest, Lyles was attempting to join Maurice Greene in 1999 as the only man to hold the 60, 100, and 200 global titles simultaneously. And while Lyles did almost everything right tonight – he was in striking distance at 25 meters, just where he needed to be – Coleman summoned his best race of the season when he needed it most.

The recipe for Coleman is always the same, whether at 60 meters or 100: get out faster than everyone else and hope his opponents run out of room to catch him before the finish line. The difference between Coleman in Glasgow and Albuquerque was not much, just .03 of a second. But it was the difference between Coleman holding off Lyles in the final meters in the former race and allowing Lyles to blow by him in the latter. The result from Glasgow: Coleman 6.41, Lyles 6.44, bronze to Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake in 6.46.

And while it seems a little odd to crown Coleman as the greatest 60-meter runner in history less than two weeks after he was beaten at his own national championship, it is odder still to argue that anyone else is deserving of the title. Coleman, 27, has the world record (6.34 seconds) as well as the next three fastest times in history. He has been exceptional on the biggest stages, with two World Indoor golds (2018, 2024) and a silver in 2022 by .003. No one has a better championship record – Bruny Surin and Justin Gatlin have matched Coleman’s two golds, but neither has a third medal. Coleman is the greatest 60-meter man we have ever seen.

The win also marked Coleman’s biggest victory since serving an 18-month suspension for whereabouts failures in 2020-21. Coleman, who never tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, has not been quite the same runner since his return, taking 6th and 5th in the last two Worlds 100m finals after finishing 2nd in 2017 and 1st in 2019. But with his win tonight, he now has three global titles: two before his ban (2018 indoor 60, 2019 outdoor 100) and one after. And perhaps more to come.

Yet the big winner of this indoor season has to be Lyles. The 200 meters comes naturally to Lyles, who has owned the event since his first professional season in 2017. He has had to work at the 100, particularly his first 40 meters, where he routinely ceded ground to the likes of Coleman. The 60? Lyles was never supposed to be good at the 60. But in the last three years, he’s gone from 6.55 to 6.51 to 6.43 and is now firmly ensconced in any discussion of the world’s best 60-meter men.

A faster 60 has translated to a faster 100, including  a personal best 9.83 in Budapest last year to become the world’s fastest man. Lyles, however, was not satisfied. He wants 9.7 (and 9.6 and 9.5), and he wants the Olympic title in Paris. So he doubled down. He hit the weight room this fall and winter, adding 10 pounds of muscle. 

“If his start’s going to get better, he has to be stronger,” said Lyles’ coach Lance Brauman. “You’ve gotta have the ability to apply force to the ground and the only way you can do that is to lift some weights and get physically stronger.”

Lyles said he can feel the difference in races.

“[Before], I’ve had to constantly just think, oh, I’ve gotta be so much more powerful,” Lyles said. “It just comes naturally now. I’m not overthinking it. It’s like, all right, let me just do. It’s not an issue of I have to stress all of my muscles to get one ounce of what could be my greatest start. I’m constantly getting what I need out of the start.”

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The results have shown all season long. After a rust-busting opener in Gainesville on January 27 (6.63), Lyles ran 6.44 in Boston on February 4, 6.43 in Albuquerque on February 17, and now 6.44 in Glasgow (his third race of the day) on March 1. His race tonight may in fact have been the best 60 of his life – Lyles’ 6.43 pb came at 4,959 feet of elevation in Albuquerque, while Glasgow sits close to sea level. Jonas Mureika’s sprint calculator converts 6.43 at ABQ to 6.46 at sea level.

It left Lyles in high spirits as he departed the track in Glasgow. 6.44 would have won every 60-meter world title save for the last three, and it took a big performance to beat him – only three men have gone faster than the 6.41 Coleman ran tonight. 

1 USA Christian COLEMAN 6.41 WL
2 USA Noah LYLES 6.44
3 JAM Ackeem BLAKE 6.46
4 KEN Ferdinand OMANYALA 6.56
5 SWE Henrik LARSSON 6.56
6 CMR Emmanuel ESEME 6.68
7 JPN Shuhei TADA 6.70
8 ITA Chituru ALI 8.00

What’s next?

Had Lyles won tonight, he would have posed a difficult question: how do you beat the man with the world’s best top-end speed when he is also the first to 60 meters? Coleman’s victory was proof that Lyles is not unbeatable; in fact, Coleman is quite good at beating him, having won seven of their last nine matchups across all distances. But as the track world turns its attention to the outdoor season and Paris in August, Lyles’ improved start – after already improving it last year – must be a scary prospect for the rest of the world’s top sprinters.

“You ain’t gonna be able to run away from me in the beginning of that race,” Lyles said. “And I hope you’ve been working on your top-end, because I’ve been working on my acceleration.”

Noah Lyles post-race

Lyles’ coach Lance Brauman after the final

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