Noah Lyles had a chaotic day at the Diamond League finals in Brussels on Friday, but it still ended with another win in the 200-meter race for the American sprinter.
Lyles was up against a faulty race number bib, rain and a strong urge that forced him to slow down at the end of the sprint.
“I had to use the bathroom, so I was trying to compose myself to prevent an accident,” Lyles told BBC Sport broadcaster Ade Adedoyin.
No lie I was clenching my butt the whole time 🙃
— Noah Lyles (@LylesNoah) September 6, 2019
Lyles, 22, won with a time of 19.74 seconds as rain began to fall. Ramil Guliyev of Turkey finished in 19.86 seconds to claim runner-up.
"A lot happened in that race! I get on the line and as soon as the starter says get to the blocks, it started raining. Then my bib comes off and then I had to use the bathroom and that's when the race became a lot more complicated," he said.
"I didn't get to experience the Brussels bend as I wanted to. It was more me clenching, trying to run and then using the bathroom.
"It's the first time it's ever happened to me. Normally I do everything before the race and I did that today. You can't control nature, I guess."
Despite all of it, this marks the fifth time this year he’s raced the 200m under 19.8 seconds. It beats Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt’s historic mark of four.
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) September 6, 2019
Bolt holds the race record at 19.19 seconds, set in August 2009 at the Berlin world championships. Lyles has the fastest time in the world this year at 19.5 seconds, set in July in Switzerland. It’s the second-fastest time for an American in history and fourth-fastest of all time.
He has lost in the 200m only once since the Olympic trials in 2016 and beat Bolt’s meet record at the Diamond League in Paris.
Lyles, who also races the 100m, is a favorite to win gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He took the experience at Brussels in stride and told AFP it was a test to see if he could truly handle all conditions. Clearly, he can.
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