Noah Lyles, safety first on 2021 Olympics, trains near woods, dog walkers

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Noah Lyles looks at life as an adventure right now. The world 200m champion is finishing an EP, playing Dead by Daylight and squeezing in some unusual training.

Lyles’ sprint cadre in Central Florida is no longer practicing on the track amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the pack of about 24 athletes was split into groups of six to train at different times at a park.

“Not a lot we can do, just kind of a little bit of running on the grass,” Lyles said, noting the Olympic hopefuls share the space with dog walkers. “It’s not so much an open field. It’s more like random spots that are just open in the woods.

“It’s all about an hour or two, and then go back, quarantine, but it’s a little bit of something to not go a little crazy.”

The world’s other top sprinter, world 100m champion Christian Coleman, is working out alone in Georgia, hopping the fence at a high school, according to Reuters.

Lyles and Coleman were to face off in the 100m and 200m at the Olympic Trials in June and, if they made the U.S. team, the Tokyo Games in August. Tuesday’s announcement that the Olympics will now be in 2021 delayed all that.

Lyles has already been waiting nearly four years since placing fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials 200m in a national high school record. He’s going to have to be more patient.

“Safety first,” Lyles told NBC Olympic primetime host Mike Tirico. “The last thing we want is for anybody to get sick. I can train for another year, but if the world goes through a crisis and everybody gets sick, we can’t even have the Olympics forever.”

Lyles is known for his varied interests. The man with ICON tattoed on his side is passionate about Dragon Ball Z, legos and designing clothing. It’s helping him get by these days.

“Sometimes, just drawing and painting can be a really good way to keep your mind off of the stresses of what’s going on in the world,” Lyles said.

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Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

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