Noah Lyles will be on a double mission in Budapest later this month as he goes for World Championships sprint glory while trying to drag track and field into the modern age.
The charismatic 26-year-old, a two-time world 200m champion, has his own popular Youtube channel and organises fashion ‘walk-ins’ at athletics events.
He is also the driving force behind the latest Netflix sport documentary, focusing on sprinters, in which he will star along with fellow American Fred Kerley and Britain’s Dina-Asher Smith.
However, Lyles’ enthusiasm with track and field’s potential is tempered by his frustration at what he sees as the ambivalence of those in authority.
“What’s wrong with track and field? How much time you got?,” he smiled.
“Let’s just say I’m a very ambitious individual. When I see growth in other areas of my life or places where I want it to be better, I’m very eager to be like, ‘how can I help?’
“What I’m realising is where there are athletes like that and people like me, the people who are actually in charge don’t have a goal, or don’t want to create a goal and it’s been a very frustrating realisation.
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“Where I’ve seen a lot of people make pushes and be ready to step out of their comfort zone, again there’s a lot of people who aren’t and that’s disappointing.
“I was having a conversation with another athlete who wants to make a track meet in his city and that’s cool.
“But he wants to get it ratified and was struggling with that. That’s just a risk they’re not willing to take.
“The hoops you have to jump through… this shouldn’t be a hard process, just create a one-day track meet, get some advertising behind it, invite athletes.
“But it’s not one of those things that can be done and I feel his pain because I have goals like that. It should be simple but it’s not and people are just ignoring the idea of it as a whole.”
Last month Lyles won the 200m at the London Stadium in the race in which Zharnel Hughes broke John Regis’ British record.
Lyles came out on top in the warm-up for the World Championships (John Walton/PA)
The man from Florida will face a gruelling schedule in Hungary as he bids for glory on three fronts – to retain his 200m crown and add golds in the 100m and the relay.
“Yeah, I’ve recently had a look at it and my chiropractor has already asked what day he should come,” he added.
“We got the 100m rounds and then two days off, which is nice, but then another four rounds – three in the 200 and then the last round of the 4×100 finals – so it’s going to be really busy. But I’m confident in my team that we can get it done.
“I’ve qualified for the 100, and I already have gold medals in the 200 and the 4×100 from 2019, so I definitely want to add another gold medal to that.”