Alexandria, VA – Did you catch Noah Lyles win the 200 meters at the World Athletic Championships in Qatar earlier this month? He finished the race in 19.2 seconds! The former T.C. Williams Titan returned home to Alexandria with his brother, fellow pro athlete Josephus Lyles, to talk to students about track and to give the school a little present.
“I’m donating this trophy to you guys,” Noah, 22, told T.C. Williams High School Track Coach Michael Hughes. “This is my fourth Diamond League Trophy. Nobody has won four Diamond League trophies.”
The brothers, who currently live and train in Clermont, Florida, return once or twice a year to their alma mater. The pair became professional athletes after graduating from T.C., and have signed with Adidas. They are currently training for the 2020 Olympic trials.
“I was in high school like three years ago, and it feels weird coming to high school and seeing all the kids,” said the 21-year-old Josephus. “Having them come and take pictures with you, it’s like, man. I was that kid three years ago.”
T.C. running coach Michael Hughes said that the brothers were great teammates.
“It was very obvious at a very early age that they are as good as they are,” Hughes said. “They were awesome as teammates. They were always willing to run the next race. All the way through they ran everything they could and they were always game for it.”
Josephus, who holds the American Junior record in the 4×400 meters relay, joined his brother straight out of high school to become a pro athlete.
“We’re thinking about the Olympics. That’s the great stage,” Josephus said. “So, we’re definitely visualizing it, getting ready for it.”
Noah, who has said that he plans on winning three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, said that a goal that he and his brother share is to be the best in the world.
“If you want to be the best and do something that no one has ever done, you need to carve a path that nobody has ever taken,” Noah said, who credited much of his success to the running program at T.C. “Most of the things that I do today [are] because of what I learned in high school. So, we learned visualization… We learned how to prepare days in advance for track meets, we learned how to travel through high school.”
Noah said it can be weird to be called the fastest man on the planet.
“I always imagine it with this thought when you’re a kid and you imagine, ‘Oh, I’m going to be the greatest.’ You keep saying it and saying it and by the time you get there, you’re like, ‘I thought I already was,'” he said. “It’s kind of like that.”
While they train four hours a day, winning is more than athletics. A lot of it is a mental game.
“In track and field you have a call room, and that’s the area you’re in before you go into a track meet,” Noah said. “A lot of people will lose that race in that call room. You can just look into somebody’s eyes and see, ‘Oh, you don’t believe you’re going to win,’ and you can even see it on the line. I can watch a track meet on TV and look at races, and I’m like, ‘That person doesn’t believe they’re going to win. They’re not going to win.'”
Noah said that winning in his sport takes teamwork – even in individual races.
“Yes, we are an individual sport, but you have more teamwork happening than you might think,” he said. “You have agents, doctors, sports psychologists, family,…explaining to them how you are feeling at all times is probably the best thing you can do for yourself, because they can’t help what they don’t know.”
T.C. senior Athena Salomons was in disbelief that the Lyles brothers were back at T.C.
“The fact that they’re here hasn’t exactly hit me yet,” said Salomons, who runs track, and plays lacrosse, soccer, and swims for the Titans. “Like, when you go to a school that just produces so many successful people and you see them – I don’t know how to put it into words. It’s insane. A couple of years ago these people were in the same position that you are in, and now they are literally at the top of the world. And I don’t even know if it’s registered for them yet, either.”