USATF Announces 2022 Track and Field Athletes of the Year

Noah Lyles and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone running at the 2022 World Championships. Obtained from the AAU administration.
Noah Lyles and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone running at the 2022 World Championships. Obtained from the AAU administration.

Following the 2022 Track and Field World Championships, 25-year-old Noah Lyles and 23-year-old Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone were announced as the male and female USA Track and Field Athletes of the Year. 

Lyles, who previously won in 2018 as well, is a sprinter competing in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash. At the World Championships in July, Lyles broke the American record in the 200-meter dash, clocking in at 19.31 seconds. For reference, world record-holder Usain Bolt has a personal best of 19.19 seconds. 

Lyles’ athletic career began when he represented the United States at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games where he won a gold medal in the 200-meter dash. Later he was named the 2015 High School Boys Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News.

In 2016 he broke the national high school record in the 200 meters at the Olympic Trials, as well as qualified for the 2016 World Championships where he was a gold medalist. In November 2016, Lyles was again named High School Boys Athlete of the Year for 2016 by Track & Field News.

Lyles had committed to continue his academic and athletic career at the University of Florida, but he and his younger brother Josephus Lyles instead turned professional and signed with Adidas. 

Lyles went on to be a finalist for World Athletics Athlete of the Year but pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis from Sweden snagged that title as the new outdoor and indoor world record holder for pole vault.

McLaughlin-Levrone, however, won both the USA and World Athletics Track and Field Athlete of the year titles. She also won last year, giving her back-to-back titles.

McLaughlin-Levrone is a sprinter and hurdler, specializing in 400-meter hurdles. She broke the 400-meter hurdle world record twice in 2021, and twice again in 2022, setting four world records in the span of 13 months with a final time of 50.68 seconds.

McLaughlin-Levrone is the first woman to ever break 52 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, let alone 51 seconds. She is also still the current under-18 and under-20 world recorder holder for the 400-meter hurdles. McLaughlin-Levrone is now the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games champion and 2022 World champion in the event.

Her athletic career started at just 15 years old when she represented the United States in the 2015 Youth World Championships, placing first.

Later in 2016, she was the youngest athlete since 1980 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic track team. That same year she signed with the University of Kentucky to continue her academic and athletic career. After one year at Kentucky, she forfeited her eligibility to compete in college to turn professional by signing a sponsorship deal with New Balance. 

In 2018, McLaughlin-Levrone set the junior open 400-meter world record at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships and later broke the collegiate and NCAA record in the 400-meter hurdles to win the event in her first ever SEC championship appearance. 

Mclaughlin-Levrone’s expertise in the 400-meter hurdles has led her to run on the U.S. 4×400 meter relay team where she split a time of 47.91, the second fastest women’s 400 meters in history. Rumor has it she plans to expand into the open 400-meter dash to obtain that world record as well. 

In more ways than one, history is being made in the world of track and field. Watch out for these two at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

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