Former middle distance runner turned athletics commentator Steve Cram was flummoxed and flabbergasted as US sprinter Noah Lyles crossed the finishing line.
“Here’s Lyles, he’s about to finish and the others are maybe a second …” gasped Cram as he tried to comprehend how Lyles had seemingly clocked 18.9 seconds for 200 meters while running at the Inspiration Games in Bradenton, Florida, on Thursday.
“That cannot be right,” continued Cram. “That cannot be right. 18.91 — that cannot be right. Can it?”
The time would have seen Lyles better Usain Bolt’s record of 19.19 seconds set at the 2009 world championships.
However, it was later revealed that the he had lined up in the wrong lane and actually ran 185 meters.
In the end, 22-year-old Lyles was disqualified, with the victory and $10,000 prize going to France’s Christophe Lemaitre who ran 20.65 in Zurich, Switzerland, and Dutchman Churandy Martina awarded second, clocking 20.81 in Papendal, Netherlands.
“You can’t be playing with my emotions like this … got me in the wrong line,” Lyles later wrote on Twitter.
The Inspiration Games saw 30 athletes compete in seven different venues around the globe as organizers sought an alternative to the Zurich Diamond League amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Races began simultaneously so TV viewers could see athletes competing side-by-side, but in the case of Lyles, who won the 200m world championship title last year, he finished so far ahead of the other two competitors that eyebrows were immediately raised.