US sprinter Noah Lyles is at the top of his game, on and off the track, ready for Tokyo | USA TODAY 1

US sprinter Noah Lyles is at the top of his game, on and off the track, ready for Tokyo | USA TODAY

 

The Olympic delay brought pressure for Noah Lyles to stay on top of his athleticism, but during that time he checked in with his mental side too.

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Lyles, now 24, described the past year as probably his most difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic brought an extra level of anxiety, given the severe asthma he had as a kid. At the same time, he also had to reconcile with the killing of George Floyd – and the nationwide social-justice movement that followed. He said he started taking medication for depression and anxiety.

Lyles said the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, in particular, prompted him to reexamine his role and purpose as an athlete. Did have a responsibility to use his platform to address racial injustice? And, if so, how? When?

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