By Amy Tennery
EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) – A year after the U.S. men walked away from the Tokyo Olympics without a single individual track gold, sprinter Noah Lyles said on Thursday he was savouring every title won by American athletes at the World Championships.
The 25-year-old retained his 200 metres world title in a national record of 19.31 seconds, leading an unprecedented second U.S. podium sprint sweep after Fred Kerley headlined an American 1-2-3 in the 100m.
“You think, ‘Yeah, America’s gonna do well’, but America’s scooping up medals left and right,” said Lyles, who finished ahead of compatriots Kenny Bednarek and 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton.
The United States have collected 22 medals in total, including seven gold, in Eugene, Oregon with three days of competition left. Ethiopia are second with three golds among their eight medals.
It is exactly the kind of dominance the United States had hoped for as it hosts the World Championships on U.S. soil for the first time.
“This feels great because I’ve been waiting for America to come out and dominate since I got on the platform, especially in the 200,” said Lyles, who was a favourite in Tokyo but finished third.
The United States is the only country to sweep both the men’s 100m and 200m in the same year at the World Championships, though the U.S. women came up empty handed in the sprints in the face of Jamaican dominance.
The United States have also performed well in the field events, winning four golds.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Eugene, Oregon; Editing by Peter Rutherford)