TC Williams High School alumnus Noah Lyles looks to 2020 Olympics

The track star is one of the fastest runners in the world at 22 years old. We spoke with him about his world-stage experience in 2019, and what’s ahead.

noah lyles running in competition for usa with his finger pointing in air
© ASSOCIATED PRESS – Photo by Ulrik Pedersen

Track star Noah Lyles always knew he wanted to be one of the fastest runners in the world—and he’s already done it at just 22 years old. The T.C. Williams High School graduate raced his way to two gold medals at the 2019 World Athletic Championships in Doha, Qatar in October, where he became a world champion in the 200-meter sprint in an astonishing 19.83 seconds.

The Washington Post dubbed him “the star that track and field needs,” and a record-rival of Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Recently, he took a break from the track to visit his alma mater in Alexandria. We caught up with him there and asked Lyles about his dedication to the sport and his most successful year yet.

What inspires you to run?
For me, it’s about the feeling of breaking my body down to make it better. I love working out. And I love having fun. I only do things that, basically, I like to do [which include running, painting, making music and more]. I enjoy every day of my life because I get to do what I love.

How did your time at T.C. Williams influence your running career?
Most of the things I do today are because of what I learned in high school. We learned how to visualize, how to prepare days in advance for track meets, how to travel and how to be on time. Those were all things that we had to learn that when we were going pro, I already had this stuff and I was just taking it along with me and building upon it.

What was it like to step on the gold medal podium in Qatar?
It was the first time I felt a little sense of nervousness again. I knew that something great was going to happen and I just wanted to make it happen as soon as possible. Stepping onto the podium, honestly, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Everything that’s happening is there for you. They’re playing the national anthem for you, because of something you did.

This post originally appeared in our December 2019 issue. For more local coverage, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

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