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Noah Lyles, denying nature’s call, wins Diamond League 200m title

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Noah Lyles and Michael Norman are cemented as favorites for the world championships in three weeks after winning Diamond League Finals titles in Brussels on Friday.

Lyles, whose only 200m loss since the 2016 Olympic trials was to Norman in June, won in 19.74 seconds (as it began raining) and said he slowed before the finish line to prevent wetting himself, according to the BBC.

“No lie I was clenching my butt the whole time,” Lyles tweeted, adding, “What a chaotic race. Nearly everything that could happen, happened. … Two pins to fix my race number were not fixed well and lost while I was sitting down, and, to be honest, I had to go to the toilet. My stomach was growling although I went to the restroom before.”

He became the first man to break 19.8 five times in one year. Usain Bolt did it four times in one year. Lyles won the Diamond League 100m title last week and plans to race the shorter sprint at Olympic trials, but not at worlds in Doha.

Norman, who is focusing on the 400m and will not race the 200m at worlds or the Olympic trials, won in 44.26 seconds on Friday.

It was well off his 2019 world-leading time of 43.45 but a nice bounce back after he almost pulled out of the USATF Outdoor Championships in July with an unspecified strain. Norman was beaten by Fred Kerley at nationals, but topped Kerley by two tenths on Friday. The U.S. has the six fastest men in the world this year and could sweep the medals in Doha.

Full Brussels results are here.

The track and field season continues next week with The Match, a Ryder Cup-style meet featuring Olympic champions Allyson FelixMichelle Carter and Brittney Reese suiting up for Team USA. The two-day meet airs live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Monday and Tuesday from 12-3 p.m. ET.

Also Friday, Brit Dina Asher-Smith notched her first career 100m win over 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, according to Tilastopaja.org. Asher-Smith, 23, clocked 10.88 seconds and remains fourth-fastest in the world this year. Jamaicans Elaine Thompson (absent from Brussels) and Fraser-Pryce top the rankings with 10.73 clockings from June.

Jamaican Danielle Williams scored her second straight win over world-record holder Keni Harrison in the 100m hurdles. Williams, who owns the fastest time in the world this year of 12.32 seconds, prevailed in 12.46. Harrison, who has the world record of 12.20, was a distant second in 12.73.

Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan comfortably won a star-studded 5000m in 14:26.26, beating world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya for the first time. It’s unknown which event(s) that Hassan, who broke the mile world record in July, will enter at worlds.

Ajeé Wilson consolidated favorite status for worlds by taking the 800m in 2:00.25. Again, the field did not include any of the Rio Olympic medalists who are barred from the event under the IAAF’s new testosterone cap.

Double Olympic champion Christian Taylor reasserted his claim as the world’s top triple jumper, soaring 17.85 meters for the Diamond League title. Four different men had won the four Diamond League meets going into the finals. American Will Claye still owns the top triple jump in the world this year of 18.14, but he was second to Taylor in Brussels.

Rio gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi of Greece cleared 4.83 meters to beat a pole vault field that included Americans Sandi Morris (Olympic and world silver medalist) and Jenn Suhr (2012 Olympic champion). Suhr still owns the world’s top clearance this year (4.91).

German Malaika Mihambo beat 2012 Olympic champion Reese in the long jump, leaping 7.03 meters. Mihambo owns the best jump in the world this year at 7.16 and is favored to break the U.S. streak of seven straight Olympic or world titles.

On Thursday, New Zealand’s world champion Tom Walsh relegated Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser to third in the shot put. Walsh threw 22.30 meters, more than a foot shy of Crouser’s best throw in the world this year from April. Crouser bettered Walsh in their two other head-to-heads this season.

MORE: Christian Coleman cleared of drug-testing charge

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Noah Lyles can break Usain Bolt record; Diamond League Brussels TV, live stream info

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Noah Lyles still has a ways to go to challenge Usain Bolt‘s 200m world record, but over the next month he can finish a campaign that rivals Bolt’s greatest seasons.

Lyles headlines the Diamond League Finals in Brussels on Friday. NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage at 12:20 p.m. ET. NBCSN airs coverage at 11 p.m.

The 22-year-old phenom can break his tie with Bolt for the most times breaking 19.8 seconds in the 200m in one year.

Bolt did it four times in 2009 (actually broke 19.7 four times), when he lowered the world record to 19.19 seconds. Lyles broke 19.8 in four meets in 2018 and is now on four occurrences in 2019 with three weeks before the world championships. Perhaps Bolt would have done it more often, but he was known for keeping his races to a minimum.

Lyles has shown little restraint, dipping down to the 100m to challenge (and beat) Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman. He’s lost just one outdoor 200m since placing fourth at the 2016 Olympic Trials out of high school.

He is a huge favorite at his first worlds in Doha, given his 19.50 clocking on July 5, the eighth-fastest in history and .37 faster than anybody in Friday’s field has recorded this year.

Lyles could be in for something special in Brussels. At last year’s Diamond League Finals (in Zurich), he had his most impressive performance of the year, a 19.67 into a slight headwind.

In Lyles’ last 200m, in Paris on Aug. 24, he broke Bolt’s 200m meet record and then Instagrammed, “Bolt who?” The accompanying photo had Lyles holding an index finger to his mouth in a shushing gesture.

Here are the Brussels entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Thursday
11:10 a.m. — Men’s Shot Put

Friday
12:23 p.m. — Women’s Discus
1:02 — Women’s Long Jump
1:24 — Women’s Pole Vault
1:45 — Women’s High Jump
2:03 — Men’s 400m
2:12 — Women’s 100m
2:18 — Men’s Discus
2:20 — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
2:37 — Men’s 200m
2:45 — Women’s 5000m
2:46 — Men’s Triple Jump
3:11 — Men’s 110m Hurdles
3:18 — Men’s 1500m
3:33 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
3:41 — Women’s 800m
3:53 — Women’s 400m Hurdles

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s Pole Vault — 1:24 p.m. ET
The third meeting among the last two Olympic champions (Katerina Stefanidi and Jenn Suhr) and the Olympic and world silver medalist Sandi Morris this season, but none of the three were winners at the previous stops. Six different women have won Diamond League stops, and Suhr, who has the best clearance this year, isn’t one of them. Favorite status for worlds is there for the taking.

Men’s 400m — 2:03 p.m. ET
Michael Norman, world’s fastest man this Olympic cycle, races for the first time since suffering his first 400m defeat in years at the USATF Outdoor Championships in July. The man who ended that streak, Fred Kerley, is also in the field. In fact, Brussels could be statement meet for the U.S. men. Norman, Kerley and Nathan Strother could sweep the 400m on Friday and at worlds with Olympic champion and world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk still sidelined after his 2017 knee tear. Should any of them win Friday, Vernon Norwood gets added to the 400m team for worlds.

Men’s 200m — 2:37 p.m. ET
Nobody here has ever beaten Lyles. It includes surprise 2017 World champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey and Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada, but Lyles was absent from both of those major meets. Some of the other men with the highest ceilings for worlds — Coleman (who rarely races 200m) and Divine Oduduru and Kenny Bednarek, who have been slow since their NCAA seasons ended — are not in Brussels.

Women’s 5000m — 2:45 p.m. ET
A meeting of the world 5000m champion (Kenyan Hellen Obiri) and the world-record holders in the mile (Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan) and the 3000m steeplechase (Beatrice Chepkoech). Chepkoech is an underdog and an unknown, having finished just two 5000m races in her career (and none this year). Obiri beat Hassan in their four head-to-heads, including the last two that turned out to be the two fastest 5000m races in history when accounting for the top four finishers.

Men’s Triple Jump — 2:46 p.m. ET
Will Claye, who took silver or bronze behind Christian Taylor at two Olympics and two world championships, has a chance to draw nearly even with Taylor in their all-time head-to-head in the triple jump. Taylor currently leads 25-24, but Claye is having the better summer and bettered him in Paris two weeks ago for his first Diamond League win in five years. Taylor once dominated, but four different men have won the four Diamond League events this season, and all of them are in Brussels.

MORE: Christian Coleman cleared of drug-testing charge

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Christian Coleman runs world’s fastest 100m in three years

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Christian Coleman sprinted to take something at the Diamond League final in Brussels. He got it.

The world’s best sprinter since Usain Bolt‘s retirement ran the world’s fastest 100m in three years, 9.79 seconds into a headwind on Friday night. Adjusting for wind and altitude, it may have been the best sprint ever outside of the Bolt era.

“Mine,” Coleman repeated in a head-shaking, chest-thumping, finger-pointing celebration.

Coleman, a Rio Olympic 4x100m prelim runner, capped a roller-coaster season following his breakout 2017, when he ran a 40-yard dash one tenth faster than the NFL Combine record and beat Bolt to a 100m silver medal at the world championships behind Justin Gatlin.

He returned in the winter indoor season to three times run under the 60m world record. Coleman then struggled with hamstring problems in the spring and lost his first two 100m races.

Coleman took June off from meets to heal up. When he returned, Coleman won a pair of 100m races in July and August, but each time the runner-up clocked the same time to the hundredth. Coleman also developed a tendency to start strong, with the rest of the field gaining on him in the last half.

Not so Friday.

Coleman stormed out of the blocks as usual, but he kept enough of a lead that he eased crossing the finish ahead of countryman Ronnie Baker, who had the world’s fastest time of 2018 (9.87). Coleman won by .14, with Baker losing nearly a tenth freezing in the starting blocks.

“I came into the whole week with a chip on my shoulder that people had stopped talking about me,” Coleman said, according to Reuters. “They forgot everything I did last year and at the indoors. I mean you can’t blame them.”

Full Brussels results are here.

The outdoor track and field season concludes in earnest with the IAAF Continental Cup next weekend, streaming live on NBC Sports Gold and airing on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

In other events Friday, Ethiopian Selemon Barega ran the sixth-fastest 5000m in history, a 12:43.02.

American revelation Shelby Houlihan lost a 1500m for the first time this season, unable to catch Brit Laura Muir in the final straightaway of the 1500m. Muir clocked 3:58.49, edging Houlihan by .45.

Houlihan, 11th at the Olympics and 13th at the 2017 Worlds in the 5000m, this year won two Diamond League 1500m races, plus swept the 1500m and 5000m at the U.S. Championships and broke the American 5000m record.

Olympic champion Brianna McNeal edged world-record holder Kendra Harrison in the 100m hurdles, 12.61 to 12.63, to cut Harrison’s lead in their 2018 head-to-head to 3-2.

Double Olympic gold medalist Christian Taylor was beaten by Cuban-born Portuguese rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo in the triple jump. Pichardo is set to end Taylor’s three-year reign as the year-end world No. 1. Taylor chose the non-global championship year to focus on trying to break 45 seconds in the 400m.

Mondo Duplantis, the recent Louisiana high school graduate pole vaulter for Sweden, surprisingly bowed out at 5.83 meters. Two weeks ago, Duplantis cleared 6.05 meters at the European Championships. Russian Timur Morgonov won Friday by clearing 5.93 meters.

Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser won the 400m in 49.33, topping world champion Phyllis Francis and U.S. champion Shakim Wimbley. The field lacked Olympic gold and silver medalists Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Allyson Felix.

Miller-Uibo owns the fastest time in the world of 2018 (48.97). Felix has scarcely competed in this non-global championship season.

Kenyans went one-two-three in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, led by world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech in 8:55.10. World champion Emma Coburn of the U.S. was fourth in 9:05.61.

Croatian Sandra Perković finished outside the top two of a discus competition for the first time since 2014. The Olympic and world champion was bettered by Cuban Yaime Perez (65 meters) and Brazilian Andressa de Morais (64.65).

Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibargüen of Colombia added a Diamond League season title in the long jump, though the final lacked Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta and world champion Brittney Reese.

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