Noah Lyles' 2023: Successes, setbacks and controversies that shaped the American's season

Noah Lyles' 2023: Successes, setbacks and controversies that shaped the American's season

Abigael Wafula 12:00 - 28.12.2023

Noah Lyles is one of the athletes who has enjoyed a glamorous 2023 season with huge successes on and off the track.

Triple world champion Noah Lyles has had one of the most amazing seasons in 2023 and he is not stopping at that as he looks forward to a fruitful 2024 season.

On and off the track, Lyles has enjoyed a lot of amazing experiences and has also cemented his name among the most stylish athletes in the world. 

He continues to fight on all fronts and is hoping for a better 2024 where he will be eyeing a quadruple at the Olympic Games in Paris, France.

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1) Victories

It is without a doubt that the American is inching closer and closer to Usain Bolt’s world records and he might just be the one to shatter them.

In the 100m, Lyles garnered wins at the Diamond League Meeting in Paris, France, before dominating at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. At the Hungarian capital, Lyles clocked a world-leading time of 9.83 to win the race.

In the 200m, the 26-year-old seemed to enjoy running his specialty and was unbeaten throughout the season. He started the season with wins at the Tom Jones Memorial and later proceeded to dominate at the Racers Grand Prix.

Lyles then won the USTAF NYC Grand Prix and the Diamond League Meeting in London before successfully defending his title at the World Championships. 

He then wound up his season with a win at the Diamond League Meeting in Zurich. Also, Lyles anchored his 4x100m relay team to victory at the World Championships in Budapest.

In the 150m race at the Atlanta City Games, Lyles was on fire as he beat Ferdinand Omanyala and Erriyon Knighton to third and second place respectively. He also propelled his 4x400m relay team to victory at the Pepsi Florida Relays.

2) Setbacks

No track and field season comes without setbacks and Lyles was not an exception to this. Lyles's major setback would be finishing second behind Christian Coleman at the Prefontaine Classic, the final Diamond League Meeting.

The two-time World 200m champion was bubbling with confidence and hoping to end his season on high but was unfortunately handed defeat by Coleman, his compatriot who also clocked a world leading time of 9.83.

Lyles also lost a couple of 100m races this season and going into next season, the American will be keen to work on that. He finished second at the Pure Athletics Spring Invitational and later on also finished second at the USATF Bermuda Grand Prix. At the USA Championships, Lyles finished third in the 100m.

3) Off-track success

Lyles has surely made a name for himself this season, from making grand appearances in events to being crowned by World Athletics. 

After completing his season, Lyles announced that he would be modelling for Hugo Boss, a leading retailer offering fashionable attire and fragrances for men and women.

The American made his first appearance on the runway and for a first-timer, he did exemplary well and on top of that, made some good earnings from the deal. Lyles was also crowned as the World Athletics men's Track Athlete of the Year thanks to his exploits on the track.

For the second year in a row, Lyles and Junelle Bromfield won the Family gingerbread house competition. Lyles also won the 2023 USATF Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year for the third time in his career.

Lyles was also honoured to be among the athletes who made appearances at the NFL games this season, having attended the match between the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.

4) Controversy

Lyles stirred controversy in August when he criticised NBA players for calling themselves world champions when they had only won in the United States.

“I watch the NBA finals and they have ‘world champion’ on their head. World champion of what? The United States? Don't get me wrong, I love the US, but that ain't the world,” Lyles said back then.

The comment ruffled feathers with Canadian rapper Drake and Phoenix Suns' forward Kevin Durant firing back.

Also, Lyles was not happy with how events turned out at the 2023 World Athletics Awards in Monaco. He was named the Men's Track Athlete of the Year and was frustrated with the fact that the awards were split into six categories as against two (Male and Female Athlete of the Year) in the previous years.

Speaking on this change by the World Athletics, Lyles aired his opinion on the unexpected categorization. "Not what I expected, I wasn't expecting that. Nobody was prepared for what really happened tonight, everybody was caught off guard especially when we heard. 

"It's a little confusing at the moment. I don't think I can digest what happened tonight, give me a few weeks, then I think I can break down what happened today," said Lyles. 

He also posted on his X (Twitter) handle saying: "Idk what to say… There is so much I want to say and so much Ik I shouldn’t say. I need time to truly get my feelings together before I start speaking on what happened tonight."