Alexandria-native and medal favorite Noah Lyles sneaks in to men’s 200m final in Tokyo

Japan 2020

USA’s Noah Lyles (L) reacts after competing in the men’s 200m semi-finals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

TOKYO (AP) — American Noah Lyles said hi to the Olympic track Tuesday, but it wasn’t all great.

After building a comfortable lead in the 200-meter semifinals, he put things on cruise control with about 15 meters left, only to be stunned to see Canada’s Aaron Brown and Liberia’s Joseph Fahnbulleh busting it to the line to edge him out in a photo finish.

Lyles had to wait a while to find out if he would earn one of two wild-card spots in the final. His run of 19.99 seconds was fast enough, and he insisted nothing was amiss.

“No. I went to plan,” Lyles said.

There will be no cruise control when he lines up Wednesday night in a field that will include Andre DeGrasse and 17-year-old American Erriyon Knighton, who played to the cameras and ran his hands across his nametag when he qualified.

The world might get to know him soon.

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