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WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIP: Dyslexia, Bullying And Depression: The Story Of Noah Lyles, The 200 Meter Champion

In 2020, due to pressure, covid and Black Lives Matter, he began to take medication and was only able to leave it this year. "I try to remember how much fun I had when I started," he said this Thursday.

“Last year I thought I was missing out. I panic. I was very scared and needed something, a spark, to come back. This year I have achieved it. Now I enjoy although the pressure is getting bigger. When I started in athletics I had a lot of fun and that's what I try to remember every day.

There is no pressure. Just fun,” Noah Lyles trumpeted in the mixed zone at Eugene's Hayward Field while his legs, his whole body, still boiled. Many minutes after running his muscles were still contracting, from neck to foot, tense in his defiance of History. Lyles won the 200 meters and he did it in 19.31 meters, often vertigo. He broke Michael Johnson 's United States record, became the third fastest man ever after Usain Bolt andYohan Blake ... Although perhaps his greatest victory was against himself.

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Because Lyles, as he himself has related, had just suffered the worst moments of his life. “I have started taking antidepressant medication and it has been one of my best decisions in a long time. Since then, I have been able to think without dark undertones in mind, without accepting that nothing matters. Thank God there is psychological therapy, "he acknowledged on his Twitter almost two years ago, shortly after proclaiming himself world champion in the 200 meters for the first time at the 2019 Doha World Cup. Activist for racial equality in the United States and top favorite to gold at the Tokyo Games, the media attention generated and everything that happened in the spring of 2020, from the pandemic to the death of George Floyd, caused his fall. “My health worsened in April. I had never experienced something so hard. It was the perfect storm: the coronavirus.


In fact, as he has also admitted on several occasions, Lyles has struggled with depression since childhood. Serious tonsillitis at the age of six led him to spend a long time in the hospital and, when he returned to school, something was not working. He was unable to keep up with the class. And he suffered harassment, numerous episodes of harassment. It wasn't until they discovered that he was dyslexic and that he suffered from attention deficit disorder that he was able to redirect his education, but by then it was too late. Bullying would be part of his life until adolescence and only athletics saved him. "The track was the only place where everything was going well, where there were no problems, where he could be calm," he pointed out, who also took refuge in his hobbies.

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The rap that he sings in the studio he has set up in his house in Clermont, Florida, near where he was born; the pictures of him, a lover of painting; Japanese comics, crazy fan of Dragon Ball; and among many other things Lego pieces, which he avidly collects. All of this is part of his personality, with admirers, of course, but also detractors. This Thursday he appeared at the stadium for the final of the 200 meters and the stands cheered with all their might for his rival, Erriyon Knighton, just 18 years old, who finished third.

The duel that both maintain, with more than one unpleasant gesture from Lyles towards the teenager, have transformed the image of the already two-time champion: from harassed to harasser. At the finish line, Lyles dedicated some nice words to the young man and tried to calm things down. His future as an idol depends on that. Surely his mental health also depends on that.

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