Florence’s Gabby Thomas takes silver in 200 meters at World Athletics Championship in Hungary

By EDDIE PELLS

Associated Press

Published: 08-25-2023 6:06 PM

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Noah Lyles won the 200-meter world title Friday in 19.52 seconds, becoming the first man to complete the 100-200 sprint double at worlds since Usain Bolt did it for the third and final time back in 2015.

It was Lyles’ third straight world championship at 200 meters and cemented him as the man to beat at both distances less than a year from now at the Paris Olympics.

In the women’s race, Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson ran the second fastest time in history, a 21.41, to take her second straight world title at 200 meters. She beat Florence’ sGabby Thomas by 0.4 seconds and three steps, with fellow American Sha’Carri Richardson taking bronze to go with her gold in the 100.

Florence Griffith-Joyner’s record of 21.34 is nearly 35 years old and Jackson has now run in the 21.4s twice — this adding to the 21.45 she ran at last year’s worlds. It’s got track fans thinking the record could be ready to go around 11 months from now in Paris.

Lyles has been talking about records, too.

His 19.52 came short of his recently stated goal of 19.10, which would have shattered the mark of 19.19 Bolt set at worlds in 2009.

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Still, the 26-year-old American’s latest victory was a runaway. He sling-shotted around the bend to overtake and then beat Erriyon Knighton by .23, holding off any thought of a true rivalry with the 19-year-old American for another year. Letsile Tebogo of Botswana finished third and adds the bronze to his silver in the 100.

The victory came a night after a bizarre accident, in which a cart carrying Lyles and other 200-meter runners to the track got broadsided by another cart. Glass shards flew into Jamaican Andrew Hudson’s eyes, though he was able to run. He was advanced into the final, where he finished eighth.

Lyles was no worse for wear, and though he was all but telling the world he would win this race – and was favored to do so – some of the earlier action at the track reinforced the notion that nothing is for sure.

Yulimar Rojas, the Venezuelan world-record holder who has won every major championship in triple jump since 2019, was languishing in eighth place and down to her last jump before she pumped herself up, got the crowd clapping, then took off and reached 15.08 meters (49 feet, 5 3/4 inches) on her last try.

It was good enough to beat Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, who won Ukraine’s first medal of the tournament — a silver instead of a gold.

Before that, the U.S. men’s relay team made it through a semi-smooth lap in the 4x100 to advance to Saturday night’s final. The Americans have only won this race once in their last six tries at the Olympics and worlds, thanks mostly to a history of rough baton passes.

Lyles should be in that final, which gives him a chance to go 3 for 3 in the sprints — a feat Bolt pulled off at worlds in 2009, 2013 and 2015 but that no American has done since Tyson Gay in 2007.

And it would heighten expectations for a repeat next year where, if he pulls it off, Lyles would join the likes of Carl Lewis (Los Angeles 1984), Wilma Rudolph (Rome 1960) and Jesse Owens (Berlin 1936) as rare U.S. sprinters to win all three sprints on the sport’s biggest stage.

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