American Claims Title of World's Fastest Human

Noah Lyles makes good on his boasts and wins the world championships
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 21, 2023 7:10 AM CDT
World's Fastest Human Is Now an American
Noah Lyles of the United States celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 100-meters final during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023.   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

American Noah Lyles captured the 100-meter world championship Sunday, finishing in 9.83 seconds for a victory that cements him as the world's No. 1 sprinter and thus the "world's fastest human." It was a victory that maybe only he and those close to him saw coming, per the AP. The 200-meter specialist, who will defend his title in that event later this week, barely qualified for the shorter race after battling COVID in the leadup to US nationals last month. More recently, he posted on social media that he could run 9.65 seconds, a thought that defending champion Fred Kerley, a fellow American, scoffed at, saying if Lyles did that, he'd run faster.

But Kerley didn't make it out of the semifinal round and Lyles' closest competition in the final came from Letsile Tebogo, a 20-year-old from Botswana, who finished in 9.873, .001 ahead of Britain's Zharnel Hughes. After Lyles saw his name listed first on the scoreboard, he looked into the on-screen camera and yelled: "They said it couldn't be done. They said I wasn't the one. But thank God I am!" Some believe Lyles is the closest thing to pure star power this sport has seen since Usain Bolt called it quits in 2017, back when the sprinter from Florida was just turning into a pro.

Since then, Lyles has forged quite a personality. He's been unabashed about the mental-health struggles he's endured, especially in the post-COVID atmosphere of the Tokyo Olympics. He recently signed a deal for a Netflix series to take people behind the scenes of his training—the thought being that the sport, struggling for relevance in the post-Bolt era, needs more time in the limelight.

(More track and field stories.)

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