Noah Lyles on Thursday broke the 200 meter sprint record that Michael Johnson has held since the 1996 Olympics.
Lyles, 25, led the second U.S. clean sweep of the championship and is now the third-fastest athlete of all time over that distance.
The new record put Lyles on the map as one of the fastest men the world has ever seen. His 19.31-second time has only been bested by two others: Jamaican runners Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
According to the Guardian, Lyles had not been satisfied with how quickly he’s been starting in some of his races but said his fellow competitors helped him to compete at his best.
Lyles led at the halfway point and exploded through the finish line with Kenny Bednarek (19.77 seconds) and Erriyon Knighton (19.80 seconds) behind him for silver and bronze.
NBC reported Lyles’s time was initially displayed as 19.32 seconds, which would have tied with Johnson’s record. However, it was then updated to an official 19.31 seconds when Lyles wasn’t looking. Johnson later approached Lyles to congratulate him on the new record break.
“I wanted my own time. Nobody wants to share a record. I was just begging it to change and then I heard the crowd just go into an uproar. I looked up at the big screen and it said 19.31 and I just went ballistic,” Lyles said.
According to NPR, the achievement was hard to gain. Lyles has made it a point to speak openly about the challenges he’s overcome to train and race including asthma and depression.
“Today is my day — I finally got to do what I dreamed of,” Lyles said.
Thursday’s race was the first time any country has swept the two men’s sprints in the same year at the world championship. It capped a remarkable turnaround from the Tokyo Olympics a year ago when the American men left without any individual track golds.