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Noah Lyles to race for gold medal in 200 meters at Tokyo Olympics

(Updated 9:30 p.m.) After advancing in two straight preliminary races, Noah Lyles will run for the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

Lyles’s family is staying at a hotel in the area to watch the gold medal match, his mother Keisha Bishop said at a watch party at Alexandria City High School on Monday night.

“We’re just trying to support him the best that we can,” Bishop told ALXnow. “We thought that the best way to do that is to go back to where it all started, at Alexandria City High School.”

Josephus Lyles is talking with his brother every day via text message.

“He’s feeling pretty good,” Josephus Lyles said. “He’s definitely ready. He says he’s in the best shape of his life and I definitely believe him. He’s definitely ready to go and ready to show the world what he’s capable of.”

The watch party was sponsored by the Lyles Brothers Sports Foundation, and the evening included games for kids in the school gym, raffles and appearances by Mayor Justin Wilson and ACPS leaders.

Noah Lyles, who barely made it to the semifinals after slowing down before the finish line, is predicting that he will win the gold medal.

After the frustration of a postponed Olympics last year, he gave the 2020 commencement speech for the graduating class of T.C. Williams High School (now Alexandria City High School). In the speech, he highlighted the importance of mental health — something his mother says was important for his development.

“I call it having a check-up from the neck up,” Bishop said. “I just think it’s really important to have a neutral space where you can get your thoughts out, let somebody know how you’re feeling and process everything that’s going on.”

Josephus, who missed the cut on this year’s Olympic team, said he wants to compete in the 2024 and possibly 2028 Olympics. The brothers live and train in Clermont, Florida, and make it back to Alexandria a few times a year.

“Something that my mom instilled in us early is that mental health is important,” he said. “You can be in the best shape of your life, but if you’re not mentally ready, then it’s a lot harder to run fast.”

School Board Chair Meagan Alderton called Bishop “super-mom’.

“Talk about one of the most amazing mothers,” Alderton said. “Keisha Bishop embodies the effort and the resilience in parenting that goes with making a champion. Her kids are so positive, humble, so well balanced.”

Track coach Michael Hughes said that the Lyles brothers were destined for greatness.

“I was fortunate to be with them,” Hughes said. “Many high school coaches run their athletes into the ground, and I just needed to help them get to where they needed to go. They were going to be the athletes they are today.”

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said that ACPS prepared Noah Lyles to win the gold medal.

“Once a Titan, always a Titan,” Hutchings said. “We are just fortunate to have a school system where our kids are exposed to so many different cultures. He was exposed and prepared for greatness here so that he could represent the United States of America in Japan.”

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