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Noah Lyles on four-gold mission at Paris Olympics

American track and field athlete Noah Lyles. — AFP/File

Noah Lyles may or may not be the next Usain Bolt but the American sprinter understands better than most that anyone who wants the job as the face of world athletics requires a combination of charisma and talent.

Ever since Bolt retired nearly seven years ago athletics, without much success, has been searching for the Jamaican’s successor. The sport is littered with interesting characters but record setting shot putters and steeplechasers do not hold global fascination.

The mythical title of world’s fastest man is what grabs attention and if accomplished with panache and flair even better.

Bolt brought a magnetic personality and other worldly speed to the track that produced a treasure trove of gold medals, including eight mined from three Olympics and records that still stand, while becoming an international celebrity.

It is that bar Lyles confronts at the Paris Olympics where he is already being positioned as athletics’ front man. From a marketing standpoint Lyles ticks all the boxes.

The American speedster is a natural showman who embraces the spotlight, speaks his mind, knows how to make an entrance and is as comfortable on a Paris fashion runway as the starting blocks. But compared to Bolt his work on the track is thin.


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