American sprinters relishing open races in life after Bolt

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — In the post-Bolt world of sprinting, top American runners are enjoying new rivalries and more open races.

Ahead of their races at the Diamond League meeting known as Athletissima, Justin Gatlin and Noah Lyles spoke Thursday of enjoying duels that were harder to predict.

“I like where the sprints are right now,” said Gatlin, whose 100-meter title at the 2017 world championships was Usain Bolt’s first loss in an individual gold-medal race for 10 years. “It’s not a clear favourite always.”

Gatlin has the best time this year among those in the 100 lineup Friday at Lausanne, while Lyles starts favourite in the 200.

“I like how every race is more now getting into a ‘Who’s going to win?’ situation,” said Lyles, whose 200 duel against fellow American Michael Norman in Rome a month ago was a highlight of the Diamond League season.

“There’s a lot of rivalries coming up, especially in the U.S. It’s actually very exciting,” said Lyles, who like Norman is 21 and a potential standout at the season-ending world championships in Doha, Qatar.

Lyles and Gatlin were asked who was “the boss” of the men’s sprints in the second season since Bolt’s retirement ended almost a decade of his domination across three Olympic Games.

Both gave diplomatic answers, suggesting they enjoy the challenge.

“You got a lot of very talented athletes who are going to step up,” said Gatlin, who at age 37 posted 9.87 seconds as runner-up at the Prefontaine Classic in California last weekend to stand fourth in the season-leading list.

The list is led by 23-year-old Christian Coleman’s winning time of 9.81 in the Americans’ first clash since taking gold and silver ahead of third-place Bolt at the 2017 worlds in London.

Lyles is second in the 100 and 200 world-leading lists this season. In Rome, Norman clocked 19.70, two-hundredths faster than Lyles.

“It’s just exciting to see fans coming out and getting excited, choose sides and just watching a race because it’s a great race,” said Lyles, whose opponents Friday include 2017 world champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey and Canada’s Andre De Grasse, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist behind Bolt.

Also at Athletissima, the women’s 100 features two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Dina Asher-Smith, the European champion from Britain.

In her second season back after welcoming her first child, Fraser-Pryce pushed current Olympic champion Elaine Thompson to a world-leading performance at the Jamaica nationals two weeks ago. Both timed 10.73.

“Motivation is definitely stronger than before,” Fraser-Pryce said Thursday. “A lot of persons believe that you can’t come back from having a baby.”

Asher-Smith said her rival’s comeback was “a joy to watch.”

“It’s been really inspiring and amazing,” the 23-year-old Briton said. “A lot of people try and tell you what you can and can’t do as a female athlete.”

Just Posted

Thousands of Albertans flock to Westerner Days on last day

Central Albertans took advantage of Sunday’s sunshine and flocked to Westerner Days… Continue reading

Former Humboldt Broncos player who survived bus crash hopes for spot on team

RED DEER, Alta. — A former Humboldt Broncos player whose back was… Continue reading

Man and dog dead after early morning house fire in Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Officials say a man and a dog are dead… Continue reading

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

OTTAWA — The federal government is fighting a proposed class-action lawsuit against… Continue reading

May says Greens will work with any party that has a serious plan for the climate

OTTAWA — With three months until Canadians vote in the next federal… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

TORONTO — The names of the two people killed in a shooting… Continue reading

Relief in sight for southeastern Canada following weekend heat wave

MONTREAL — Relief is in sight for sweltering Canadians after a weekend… Continue reading

Trudeau’s former right-hand adviser playing role in Liberal election campaign

OTTAWA — With three months to go now until the election, the… Continue reading

Hotels face battle over whether to help US house migrants

DETROIT — There’s a new target in the clash over immigration: hotels.… Continue reading

Thousands visit Illinois governor mansion after renovations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Thousands of people have visited the Illinois governor’s mansion… Continue reading

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

VANCOUVER — High school students in Canada may not be getting the… Continue reading

‘Us and them’: influence of Quebec anglos on decline with new Coalition government

MONTREAL — Last March, Quebec Premier Francois Legault made a mocking remark… Continue reading

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

VANCOUVER — Japanese Canadians across the country are meeting to discuss how… Continue reading

Most Read