American sprinter Noah Lyles hopes a win in this weekend’s 60-meter dash at New York’s Millrose Games will show he is on track for a shot at 100m gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The reigning 200m world champion goes up against defending champion Christian Coleman at the Armory on Saturday as he tries to prove he is making strides in shorter sprints.
Lyles, winner of the 200m at the 2019 and 2022 World Championships, readily admits that his “biggest weakness” is the first 20 meters of a race.
“Something that has to happen is my starting acceleration needs to be smooth like butter,” the 25-year-old said Thursday.
Florida-born Lyles clocked a personal best of 6.51sec to win the 60m at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix last weekend.
A victory Saturday on the “fastest track in the world” will boost his confidence as he eyes adding the 100m title in August at the World Championships in Budapest.
“The more I work at my weakness, the less of a weakness it becomes and the more unbeatable I look,” said Lyles.
“It’s like watching a puzzle come together. Yeah, you’re excited that you got all the corner pieces, but you get even more excited when you start filling in the middle. And then finally, you’re in the last five pieces.
“I feel that recently I’ve been on my last 10 pieces, putting them all together and you can see the picture and you can see it being so close to done, but it’s just a few pieces away.
“And that’s what is the most exciting part about indoor and what I’ve been getting out of these races.”
Lyles holds the American 200m record of 19.31sec. He wants to break Usain Bolt’s 200m world record of 19.19 and said he can also “100 percent” beat the Jamaican’s 100m record of 9.58.
But his performances this year are all about building up to the world and 2024 Olympics and bettering his 200m bronze finish at the Tokyo Olympics.
“This is the time where I’m preparing for 2024 and I need to map out how we’re going to attack 2024,” he said.
Coleman, 26, set the 60m world record of 6.34sec in 2018.
The American is trying to regain the form that saw him crowned 100m champion at the World Championships in Doha in 2019 before missing the Tokyo Olympics due to a suspension for missed doping tests.
“I feel like if I just continue on my trajectory, and continue to just have fun with it, I feel like the times will come,” he told AFP.
Elsewhere at the 115th Millrose Games, one of the oldest indoor athletics meets, Ryan Crouser takes on fellow American Joe Kovacs, the man he pipped to win the past two Olympic shot put gold medals.
Tokyo Olympic champion Katie Moon (nee Nageotte) goes up against Rio Games gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi of Greece in the pole vault.