Lyles and Jackson panic the clock on 200m
“I was really hoping it would be a fast lap, but when I saw it I thought, seriously? “, was surprised the now double world champion of the half-lap (after 2019), who tore his jersey with joy once the finish line was crossed. “After that, I think the 200m will accept my marriage proposal,” he joked.
With his 19 »31 – personal best improved by almost two tenths – only Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt, world record holder in 19 »19 since 2009, and another sprinter from the Caribbean island, Yohan Blake (19 »26), have run faster than Lyles in 200m in history.
But no more American icon Michael Johnson, now a hundredth slower than Lyles (19 »32 in 1996), and came to congratulate him in person at Hayward Field. « I was in shock, I had exchanged with him on Twitter but I had never met him in person, » said the winner of the day. “It was the meeting of two generations. »
« Extraordinary day »
On the Eugene track, Lyles (25) climbed on a 100% American podium, like Fred Kerley in the 100m at the start of the competition: he won ahead of Kenny Bednarek (19 »77) – relegated to close half a second – and the very young Erriyon Knighton (19 »80), only 18 years old.
For the Florida sprinter, mental health faltering since the pandemic and followed by a therapist, it is an « extraordinary day »: « I showed that I could be plunged into a storm of dark ideas and get out of it », appreciates the 2021 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200m, yet arrived in Tokyo as a favorite for gold.
Knighton, promised to American football and came to athletics only three years ago, had marked the spirits by running in 19”49 in the spring. Faster than Bolt at the same age. If he did not repeat such a performance in the final, he nevertheless climbed on his first world podium, a year after finishing at the foot of the Olympic podium.
A few minutes before Lyles, it was Jackson who approached – precisely eleven hundredths – the old world record for the 200m of the American Florence Griffith-Joyner (21 »34 in 1988), in 21 »45 (+0.6 m/s of wind). Either the second best time in history, in addition to a personal best improved by a tenth.
Enough to take her revenge on the misadventure of the Tokyo Games, when, contender for the Olympic podium, she was eliminated from the 200m series after having cut her effort too early. “I cried so much not to have made it to the final. I learned a lot from last year”, she considers with hindsight.
At 28, Jackson, a former 400m runner, won her first individual world title, ahead of the five-time 100m world champion, her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (21”81), and the Briton Dina Asher-Smith, outgoing world champion (22 »02). “I love the feeling of being one of the fastest sprinters in the world,” she smiles discreetly.
After their hat-trick in the 100m on Sunday, the Jamaican rockets this time occupied “only” two-thirds of the podium, the reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah having only finished seventh (22”39). Until then, Jackson had only known silver internationally, in the 100m on Sunday, and bronze, four times (400m at the 2016 Olympics and the 2013 and 2015 Worlds, and 100m at the 2020 Olympics), excluding the relay. .