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17 Year Old Prodigy Going Past Noah Lyles to Break Usain Bolt’s Record Gets Brutally Ridiculed by Track and Field Community: ‘Absolutely Not’

Published 05/14/2024, 3:58 PM EDT

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The 2024 Paris Olympics will bring the eagerly anticipated power show on one track and field event—the men’s 100m final. Now, any of the top sprinters have a good chance of winning this year, given the mileposts along the road to Paris saw warmup meets producing blistering moments. The diversity of track prowess ranges from 17-year-old U20 athlete, Christian Miller to Noah Lyles.

Christian Miller is the newest headline in the 100m sprint scene after he won the men’s 100m at the PURE Athletics Spring Invitational in Clermont with a world-record-setting time of 9.93. In contrast, Lyles cemented his position as Bolt-alter to watch this Summer Olympics after he clinched three golds in the 100, 200, and 4x100m relay at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Now can we even compare Miller—Lyles—Bolt?

The race to eclipse Bolt

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The high school senior, Miller, from Florida, set a national record of 9.93s in the 100m, ranking him 3rd on the all-time U20 world list. Noah Lyles won the 2024 USATF 100m in 9.96s, just shy of the season’s fastest time. In light of their neck-to-neck timing, let us take a look at where they stand as juniors.

As a junior, Miller won the 2023 USATF U20 Championships 100m in 10.06s. On the other hand, Lyles took silver at the 2015 Pan Am U20 in 10.18s before improving to 10.17s at the 2016 World U20 meet. Miller’s U20 records look better than that of Lyles. Since Lyles has made boastful comments about breaking Bolt’s records, Miller’s fresh achievement naturally brings him under the radar of the Usain Bolt record debate. Interestingly, Miller’s timing might recall what Justin Gatlin had said a few days back.

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Gatlin explained that there has been a significant surge in the time the youngsters are pulling off these days. If this trend continues, Gatlin believes that the next generation of runners might get to Bolt’s record. In a recent interview, Gatlin said, “I wouldn’t say very soon (on breaking the 100m world record). Maybe not in this generation that we have now but the next one to come. The young athletes, as a high schooler, they are not really using high school practice regimen, but college regimens. And as college athletes, they are being professional… So hopefully we’ll see times that will be comparable to nine-five or better (from) the next generation.”

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Is Miller capable of breaking Bolt’s record?

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Christian Miller, at 17 years old, is surely a bright representative of that next generation. Someone who is clocking time around 9s at this age is indeed capable of reaching unprecedented height if that momentum is kept. When Miller broke Lyles’ record in April, he expressed his confidence to break more records and said, “I just feel like a great milestone that I’ve hit. Going from fastest high school then fastest U18 athlete, U20 athlete, and now the fastest in the world right now it’s just great and I’m just ready to come after more…”

But whether this can land him on the same pedestal as Usain Bolt is already a matter of debate. It seems that track and field’s allegiance still lies with Usain Bolt. Just like they grilled Noah for his comments on the matter, equalling Miller to Bolt met with a similar fate. In a recent Reddit query post, a user sparked a debate, “Is Christian Miller likely to run as fast as Usain Bolt?

Internet remains the ‘Lightning Bolt’ loyalists

Reflecting on his records, Bolt stated his conviction that his 200m record would fall before his 100m record and said, “I think the 100m [is] going to be harder [to break] because it’s quicker. And if you make a mistake during the race you’re not going to get it.” Looks like a fan didn’t find Miller a suitable throne successor as their comment read, “Absolutely not.”

Christian Miller became the youngest person in history to dip below 10s in the 100m sprint, cementing his stature in the track and field world. However, another strong opinion was shared by someone who wrote, “I don’t even know who that is and the answer is still “no”. Bolt’s legacy in track and field is not a momentary success. It has stood the test of time, repeatedly.

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On the other hand, Miller is a rising star. He is indeed promising. But the social media community thinks it is too early to equate him with a legend. In this context, one even went beyond track and field to draw a comparison between NBA legend LeBron James to a new rookie addition in the annual sports league, and wrote, “You’re asking if the first overall pick in the NBA draft this year is likely to be as good as LeBron (he won’t)”

Another user added more clarity to the stance and explained the possibility: “Likely? No. Anything is possible, but the possibility that some does world class in U20 & then breaks a WR is still really low for most events, like 5% chance normally. Bolt’s 100m record is on another level compared to most WRs & Miller’s best is his 100m, not his 200m, so I’d say under 1% chance.”

It’s quite unlikely that any athlete other than Usain Bolt would proclaim, “I’m very confident,” before an Olympic race, as Bolt did before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, regarding having his records surpassed. Bolt holds the 100m world record of 9.58s (set in 2009, breaking Jim Hines’ previous record), the 200m world record of 19.19s, and was part of the 4x100m relay world record of 36.84s at the 2012 London Games.

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Truly, Usain Bolt is like no one. On the all-time 100m list the second place belongs to Tyson Gay. But his time sits at 9.69s which is a good .11s slower than Bolt. For the common man, that might read very little, but track enthusiasts know the value of those seconds better than anyone else. A strongly opinionated comment just highlighted that “Usain Bolt is the fastest man ever because people are so unlike him. Literally, every person in the history of the world has been unlike him.”

Whether or not Bolt’s record will be broken, lies in the folds of the future. But his legacy continues to move mountains and inspire star-studded athletes to reach their maximum potential to surpass his standards.

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Written by:

Divya Purohit

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Divya Purohit is a senior Olympics Sports writer for EssentiallySports. She majorly covers gymnastics, alpine skiing, and horse racing. While bringing the detailed stats of gymnastics to the American readers, she covered two prominent events - the 2023 Xfinity Gymnastics Championships, and the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
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Edited by:

Sampurna Pal