News & Politics

Noah Lyles: 5 Things to Know

The fastest man alive went to high school in Alexandria.

Noah Lyles celebrates after winning the men's 100m final of the World Athletics Championships. Photograph by The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Images.

Noah Lyles is the fastest man alive. The 26-year-old thundered to the new title for the 100 meter sprint at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Sunday, and he’ll run his signature event, the 200 meter sprint, on Wednesday. He says he hopes to beat Usain Bolt’s record. (Bolt still holds the all-time record for 100 meters.)

[su_youtube url=“”]

Lyles lives in Florida and has strong local connections, since he went to what’s now Alexandria City High School. Here are a few quick things to know about the athlete.

He’s making athletics fun again

Lyles is outspoken: Earlier this month, he declared he’d win the 100 and 200 at this competition (and even predicted his times). He and fellow sprinter Fred Kerley jousted verbally at a press conference last week, and Usain Bolt himself recently said the sport needs a “personality” like Lyles. If Lyles wins the 200 on Wednesday—the last American to win the 100 and 200 meters sprint double was Tyson Gay—he’ll likely have US news outlets’ full attention at next year’s Olympic games in Paris.

He’s talked frankly about mental health

After winning what he called a “boring” bronze at the Tokyo games in 2021, Lyles spoke openly about his struggles with depression, his experiences with antidepressants, and the toll the pandemic and police killings took on him in 2020:

“And I knew there was a lot of people out there like me who were too scared to say something or start that journey,” Lyles said. “I wanted them to know, if you see me in a big light, I want you to know that it’s okay to not feel good, and you can go out and talk with somebody professionally or even get on medication. This is a serious issue. You don’t want to wake up one day and think, ‘I don’t want to be here anymore.’ ”

Lyles and his brother Josephus, who’s also a notable sprinter, have established a foundation that prioritizes mental health for athletes.

Lyles visits his alma mater regularly and he and Josephus earned spots in the city schools’ Athletic Hall of Fame last year. He received a key to the city last fall.

He’s got a real shot at breaking Bolt’s record for the 200 meter

The Jamaican set the current record, 19.19, in 2009. Was that as fast as a human can run? Lyles thinks not.

There’s a new documentary series about him on Peacock

Here’s the trailer.

[su_youtube url=“”]

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.