Lyles celebrates 25th with cruise through world qualifying

by | Jul 19, 2022 | Sports

EUGENE, Ore. — Noah Lyles looked to his right and saw no one. He glanced over again, and still seeing nobody there, gave a playful wag of the finger to the six stragglers behind him. All part of the fun — remember that word? — and part of the show delivered by America’s most engaging sprinter Monday, which happened to be both Lyles’ 25th birthday and opening night in his signature race, the 200 meters, at the world championships.Lyles, who ran his heat in 19.98 seconds, was part of a cavalcade of the world’s best sprinters — including 100 champions Fred Kerley and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton — who cruised through the first heats of the 200 without much fuss.“A totally different vibe,” Lyles called racing in 2022, now that fans have returned to stadiums that were largely empty for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. “If anything, it makes it more fun. I’ve been able to come out here and, I feel like, be the most ‘me’ I’ve been in years.”Whether that rediscovery helps him win gold, silver, bronze, or nothing at all, Lyles said he likes this sport again. The finals are Thursday. But earlier on his birthday, Lyles, who is as open about his mental-health struggles and social issues confronting the world as he is about sprinting, put things in perspe …

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