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Noah Lyles targets new Olympics goal: ‘Not even Bolt did that’

Noah Lyles has revealed that he is bidding to win four gold medals on the track at Paris 2024 and do “something that hasn’t been done”.

The American swept the sprint titles at the World Championships in Budapest last year, taking the individual 100 and 200 metres crowns and featuring in the USA’s victorious sprint relay quartet.

Lyles now wants to add the men’s 4x400m to his programme in Paris having helped his nation to silver at the World Indoors in Glasgow earlier this year.

A sprint triple would emulate Usain Bolt’s achievement at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, but the 26-year-old is intent on going one better than the Jamaican.

While compatriots Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens each added the long jump to their sprinting success, and Fanny Blankers-Koen won four golds on the track in London in 1948, Lyles believes he can make history in the French capital by winning four Olympics track titles.

“Why four?” Lyles told The Times. “Well, there have been multiple doubles, not a lot, but there have been plenty. I can grab three but Bolt has done that. I can do two Olympics in a row, but Bolt has done that too.

Noah Lyles (right) won silver in the 4x400 metres at the World Indoors in Glasgow (Getty Images)
Noah Lyles (right) won silver in the 4x400 metres at the World Indoors in Glasgow (Getty Images)

“A field event? Nope, been done. So I really have to look. What’s left on the table that could put me on my Mount Rushmore, make people say, ‘Not only was he great, but he did something that hasn’t been done’?

“What I want and expect are two different things. I expect to get multiple gold medals but what I want is four. I can definitely put a downpayment on two, but relays are a bit tricky.”

Dutchwoman Blankers-Koen won golds in the 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and 4x100m in London, her only Olympic medals.

Lyles faces a battle making it into the defending champion USA’s relay quartet over the longer distance, though the schedule does allow him to fit all four events in.

The heats for the 4x400m at the Stade de France take place the morning after his 200m individual final, with the medal race a day later on August 10.

He has been criticised, though, for trying to force his way into the quartet, pulling out of the 4x400m at the recent World Relays in the Bahamas after team mates complained about his involvement at the Indoors in Glasgow.

Noah Lyles has been criticised by his team mates (EPA)
Noah Lyles has been criticised by his team mates (EPA)

“A lot of people in the US were very, very, very upset that I ran the 4x4,” Lyles said. “I can’t give all the details but there were coaches who coached athletes that were on the 4x4 that didn’t get to run that were upset about that. They complained to higher-ups about the decision. The higher-ups decided to take action.

“Whether this will happen again, I don’t know. Are they going to make new rule changes? I don’t know. But the way that the rules are set up now is anybody who is actually on the team can be in the relay. I am going to keep doing what I do. It is the relay coach’s decision. I am going to tell them the same thing – “If you want to use me, I am here, if you don’t, that’s fine”. I am not going to have hurt feelings about it.

“I will be training specifically for the 100 and 200 and be as strong as possible in the 400. I am in the best in shape I have ever been in my life.”