The second modified event of the 2020 Diamond League schedule, the Inspiration Games, was held on Thursday, and the penultimate event of the day, the men’s 200m, produced a lot of drama. Current 200m world champion Noah Lyles was one of three competitors lining up for the race, and he dominated, crossing the line in 18.91 seconds, absolutely smashing Usain Bolt‘s world record of 19.19. Except… it turned out that he’d run in the wrong lane and only covered 185m. For a few minutes, though, Lyles set the track world on fire.
You can’t be playing with my emotions like this….
got me in the wrong lane smh 🤦🏾♂️
— Noah Lyles (@LylesNoah) July 9, 2020
World record tease
When Lyles first crossed the line and everyone still believed he had broken the world record, there was talk on track Twitter that it had been a wind-aided run and wouldn’t count as an official record. Even if it had been wind-aided, that would still be an incredible run. He wouldn’t have just beaten Bolt’s record, he would have obliterated it. Unfortunately for everyone (Lyles, the track world and whoever put him in the wrong lane), there was a mistake and he ran 15m short. Once everything was sorted out, Lyles tweeted, “You can’t be playing with my emotions like this … Got me in the wrong lane.” We think it’s safe to assume that he was not amused by the error.
De Grasse and Felix
Lyles’s run and all of the confusion that came with it stole the show on Thursday, but there were some other great (and legit) race results before that mishap occurred. Canada’s Andre De Grasse raced the 100-yard dash against Jimmy Vicaut of France and Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica, grabbing the win in 9.68. This time equates to about a 10.59 100m run, which is far off his personal best at the distance. Still, a win is a win, and De Grasse continues to show he’s in good shape as the world creeps back toward a regular racing schedule.
"I felt a little rusty"
— Wanda Diamond League (@Diamond_League) July 9, 2020
Another big result came from U.S. Olympic champion Allyson Felix, who won the 150m race and set her PB at the distance with a time of 16.81. She upset pre-race favourite Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas for the win. Felix ran alone in Walnut, Calif., while Miller-Uibo raced in Florida and the third competitor, Swiss world championship 200m bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji, raced in Zurich. After the race, Felix said it was “very strange” racing alone on the track. “It feels sort of like practice, but not even that, because there are no teammates.”
2020, the year of off-distance racing
Since races slowly began to return, there have been a lot of irregular, off-distance events being contested. At the Impossible Games in June, Karsten Warholm set the 300m hurdle world record and the Ingebrigtsen brothers ran a 2,000m race. Thursday saw the men’s 100-yard and women’s 150m races, as well as a women’s 300m hurdle event. Who knows, maybe the Diamond League will end up adopting some of these rare events and using them in the official 2021 schedule.