Noah Lyles: US 4×100 squad “might break the world record” this year

By Jonathan Gault
July 14, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — In recent years, the men’s 4×100 relay has mostly been a source of embarrassment for Team USA. Starting with the 2008 Olympics, the Americans have failed to medal in seven of the 10 global championships (they claimed gold in 2019 and silver in 2013 and 2017). If last year’s Olympics didn’t mark a new low, it at least marked a new way for Team USA to fail: the men got the baton around in the prelims but only finished sixth in their heat and failed to make the final despite boasting three of the world’s four fastest men in 2021.

Team USA relay members Fred Kerley, Josephus Lyles, and Noah Lyles

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One of the reasons cited for that result was a lack of practice: key members Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker — whose second exchange helped doom the Americans — only ran two practices before the meet. Noah Lyles, who would likely have subbed in for the final, didn’t practice with the group at all.

More: LRC What Really Happened with the US Men’s 4×100 Team in Tokyo? And What Can Be Done to Fix it?

In 2022, the US has a new men’s relay coach (Mike Marsh, who took over for Orin Richburg) and new practice habits.  Lyles was one of the featured guests at today’s Team USA press conference and he said that the team’s relay camp last week lasted three or four days and that handoffs were good.

“Way more practice than any other year, I’d say,” Lyles said. “I think we’re all comfortable with each other.”

We just gotta get the stick around and once we do that, it’s showtime,” Kerley said.

Of course, “just getting the stick around” has been a problem for more than a decade now. But Lyles isn’t dwelling on past failures. When he last ran the 4×100 for Team USA, he anchored the squad to gold in American record fashion at the 2019 Worlds in Doha. That team ran 37.10; Jamaica’s world record from the 2012 Olympics is 36.84.

“I’ve been saying this for years: when I’m on the relay, we ain’t losing,” Lyles said. “Point blank. And we might break the world record, just saying.”

Big talk. The proof, as usual, will come on the track.

Discuss: “Noah Lyles: “I’ve been saying this for years: when I’m on the relay, we ain’t losing… we might break the world record”