Noah Lyles opens up on why he never cared to be an Olympian or World champion

ATHLETICS Noah Lyles opens up on why he never cared to be an Olympian or World champion

Abigael Wafula 21:34 - 22.12.2023

Noah Lyles has gotten candid on why he never saw the Olympics or World Championships as a big deal growing up.

Two-time World 200m champion Noah Lyles has revealed the main reason why growing up, he never thought of being a World champion or Olympian.

During an interview with World Athletics, Lyles’ mother, Keisha Caine asked his son about what advice he would give to a young athlete who looks up to him.

She said: “You have a lot of youth who look up to you, and they have no idea how they can get to where you are because you seem so untouchable to them.

“But I know you remember being that kid, watching athletics on television. So, if you could go back, what would you tell that kid in how to reach where you are right now?”

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Lyles replied saying that he grew up around people who had already made it and he never saw it as a big deal.

He added that it wasn’t until around 2012 that he realised that it was actually a hard thing to accomplish those milestones.

“To be honest, I actually did not care to be an Olympian or a world champion when I was younger. Because I grew up in a household where there were a lot of connections to other Olympians and other world champions.

“Jearl Miles Clark is one of my godmothers and she is a five-time Olympian. Her sisters-in-law are also Olympians – multi-Olympians – so at the age of eight I had the assumption that being an Olympian was a rite of passage; it was like getting your driver’s license.

“It just eventually happened – as long as you live long enough, and you say you want to do it; you can do it,” Lyles said.

He disclosed that many people always ask why he had so much conviction in what he wanted but Lyles explained that it was always at the back of his mind.

“I know that there are a lot of youth who are probably doing things that they don’t want to do, and you know what it feels like when you get to do the thing that you love.

That was running, for me. When I had the avenue to be able to go down that path and say I’m going to devote almost all my energy to this one thing, sacrifices didn’t feel like sacrifices,” he said.

The triple World champion also noted that he loves what life is all about since it was a dream come true.

“When you have a passion for something, avenues will open up. My advice is be strong, be brave, and take those avenues. When the door opens, take it.

“When the window opens, jump through it. The window might be high and you might have to scale a wall to jump through that window to get in, but take it, because it might never come again.

Being brave doesn’t mean that you have no fear – it means that through fear, you still attempt,” he added.