LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - Noah Lyles raced to the fourth-fastest 200-meter time in history on Friday, finishing in 19.50 seconds at the Athletissima Diamond League meet.
Lyles even ran into a slight headwind on a warm evening, going 0.08 seconds faster than Usain Bolt’s Lausanne track record set seven years ago.
Only Michael Johnson among American sprinters, winning the 1996 Atlanta Olympics title in 19.32, has run the 200 faster than the 21-year-old Floridian.
“The track here is burning up,” said Lyles, who leaned back and shouted skyward before posing for photographs next to the trackside clock. “It was about getting out strong. There is nothing better than seeing the accomplishments of what you have put in.”
Bolt’s world record of 19.19 was set at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. His Jamaica teammate Yohan Blake ran 19.26 at Brussels in 2011.
In other world-leading performances Friday, Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya won the men’s 1,500 in 3 minutes, 28.77 seconds, and pole vaulter Piotr Lisek of Poland cleared 6.01 meters.
Lyles had been tied for eighth all-time for his 19.65 set at Monaco last year.
“Each year I’m making a huge jump. I’m very satisfied,” said Lyles, who heads to U.S. nationals in three weeks at Des Moines, Iowa, aiming to make the 2019 worlds team. The IAAF World Athletics Championships opens Sept. 28 in Doha.
His season-best had been 19.72 as runner-up to another 21-year-old American, Michael Norman, in Rome one month ago. Norman’s time of 19.70 at the Golden Gala meet had been the fastest in the world this year.
On an ideal night for sprinting, two-time Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce dominated the women’s 100. Her 10.74 performance was just 0.01 outside the world-leading time Elaine Thompson and Fraser-Pryce herself clocked at the Jamaica nationals last month.
The 32-year-old Fraser-Pryce, who missed the 2017 season to give birth to her first child, quickly ran clear to finish 0.17 ahead of Dina Asher-Smith, the European champion.
Asher-Smith and the 2017 worlds silver and bronze medalists — Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Dafne Schippers — all clocked season-best times trailing far behind Fraser-Pryce.
World champion Justin Gatlin cruised to victory in the men’s 100 in 9.92, breaking clear before the midway point to leave fellow American Michael Rodgers trailing in 10.01.
A fast men’s 1,500 saw the first six finishers beat the previous world-leading time this season. Behind Cheruiyot’s meet-record run, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the 18-year-old European champion from Norway, ran a lifetime-best 3:30.16 in second place.
A curious men’s 5,000 left Yomif Kejelcha ahead at the bell signaling one lap left after Hagos Gebrhiwet slowed and saluted the crowd thinking he had won. Kejelcha timed 13:00.56.
Running the second-fastest women’s 400 this season, Nigeria-born Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain timed 49.17, 0.02 ahead of Aminatou Seyni.