Noah Lyles breaks Michael Johnson's U.S. record that stood since 1996

Noah Lyles knew he had run the best race of his life — and maybe the best 200 meters any American had ever run.

He finished so far ahead of the other runners in Thursday night's final at the World Athletics Championships that after crossing the finish line

he turned to stare down his only true opponent: the clock.

But for agonizing moments, the on-field clock stubbornly showed Lyles' unofficial time as 19.32.

The mark would elate any other runner in the world, but it was also the same time Michael Johnson set in the 200 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Since then, it has seemed unassailable. Until now.

Lyles, 25, stood with his hands on his hips, staring.

He walked over to the clock at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., talking to it.

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