Diamond League

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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Noah Lyles overtakes Justin Gatlin for Diamond League 100m title

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Noah Lyles beat Justin Gatlin for the first time, overtaking a struggling 37-year-old in the last 20 meters to win the Diamond League 100m title in Zurich on Thursday.

Lyles, who will not race the 100m at next month’s world championships to focus on the 200m, clocked 9.98 seconds into a .4 meter/second headwind. He remains the second-fastest man in the world this year (and this Olympic cycle) behind Christian Coleman.

“The race was not as fast as I wanted,” said Lyles, who has run 9.86 and went on to perform a song in a closing ceremony with Olympic silver medalist pole vaulter Sandi Morris on Thursday night. “Today was like a world championships final for me.”

Coleman, who has clocked 9.79, 9.81 and 9.82 the last three years, was not in Zurich as he as contests a charge of missing three drug tests that could lead to a suspension.

Gatlin led at about 70 meters before slowing to fourth place in 10.08. He came to Zurich as the world championships favorite with Coleman’s status in limbo, but now the likes of 2012 Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake (third on Thursday) have to be considered.

The Diamond League season concludes with the second of two finals meets in Brussels on Sept. 6. Lyles is expected to race the 200m.

In other events Thursday, Norwegian Karsten Warholm ran the second-fastest 400m hurdles in history, clocking 46.92 seconds. Only Kevin Young‘s 27-year-old world record of 46.78 was faster. Warholm, the 2017 World champion, outdueled American Rai Benjamin, who ran 46.98 to move into a share of third place on the all-time list.

Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo ran the world’s fastest 200m in four years, winning in 21.74 seconds. The Bahamian is undefeated at all distances for two years but will not race the 200m at worlds because it overlaps with the 400m. The IAAF is reviewing Miller-Uibo’s request to change the 2020 Olympic schedule to better accommodate a 200m/400m double. More on that process here.

With Miller-Uibo absent from the worlds 200m, the favorites are Brit Dina Asher-Smith, who was runner-up in 22.08 on Thursday, and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, who is ranked second this year at 22.00 and was third in 22.44 in Zurich.

Sydney McLaughlin ran away from world-record holder Dalilah Muhammad in the 400m hurdles. McLaughlin clocked 52.85 to win by 1.01 seconds, while Muhammad was third in 54.13, well her record-breaking 52.20 from the USATF Outdoor Championships last month. Muhammad and McLaughlin are the only women to break 53 seconds this year, making them the clear gold-silver favorites at worlds.

“I’m shocked and amazed,” McLaughlin said, adding that she must improve after hitting two hurdles. “I didn’t expect to come out here and win.”

Donavan Brazier surged past a gassed Nijel Amos to win the 800m in 1:42.70, one tenth off Johnny Gray‘s 34-year-old American record. Brazier, who notched his first Diamond League win in June, is now a gold-medal contender for worlds. No American has earned an Olympic or world title at 800m since Dave Wottle prevailed in a hat in Munich in 1972.

Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser won the 400m in 50.24 seconds against a field lacking Miller-Uibo. Naser hasn’t been beaten by anyone other than Miller-Uibo in two years.

World-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech won a 3000m steeplechase that included four of the six fastest women in history, plus reigning world champion Emma Coburn. Chepkoech, whose world record is 8:44.32, won in 9:01.71 to consolidate world championships favorite status. Coburn was 8.3 seconds slower in sixth and faces a difficult task to beat two of the four Kenyans at worlds next month to get back on the podium.

Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan followed up her mile world record from last month by winning the 1500m over a field including world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba. Hassan clocked 3:57.08, well off the world’s fastest time of 2019 that she owns (3:55.30). Hassan has range from 800m through the 10,000m, and it’s unknown what her world championships schedule will be.

American record holder Sam Kendricks won the pole vault over a field that included the world-record holder (Renaud Lavillenie of France) and Rio Olympic champion (Thiago Braz of Brazil). Kendricks, who leads the world this year with a 6.06-meter clearance, needed only to get past 5.93 for his second Diamond League title.

Cuban 21-year-old Juan Miguel Echevarria won the long jump with an 8.65-meter leap, farthest in the world this year.

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