It’s no longer news that the reigning world 200m Champion, Noah Lyles could only picked bronze medalist (19.74) behind Andre De Grasse and U.S. teammate Kenneth Bednarek (19.68) at the Tokyo Olympics 200m final. But what is not known was how has been battling depression before the games.
After the epic race, he opened up about himself about his battle with depression and the heartbreak of his brother Josephus, also a sprinter, not joining him on Team USA, at one point breaking him down.
“Mentally, getting on and off anti-depressants was really hard,” Lyle said. “I remember coming over to Tokyo, I broke down crying, just a lot of different things. I love my brother, and watching him train as hard as he has – I’m sorry – I feel like this wasn’t even my dream. In 2012, my brother had the dream that he was going to come to the Olympics and I really just tagged along for the ride. Sometimes I think to myself, this should be him I’d be OK not being here. I feel I have a lot of talents and I can go in different directions. But this wasn’t even my dream, I just tagged..He held his face in his hands unable for a moment to continue.
“Along because I love my brother and I wanted to do this together and it sent us so far and I just feel like you should be in the Olympics.”It was while hanging out with Josephus as a young boy that Lyles first discovered track.“It’s been a very long journey,” he said his mother Keisha Caine Bishop also battled anxiety and depression.
“From a young age she kind of picked up on cues on me, knowing that could be something in the future,” Lyles said. He also had dyslexia and ADD. Struggling in the classroom and bullied for his yellow teeth, the result of his ADD medication.
“Going through life it was very hard for me to figure out what I wanted to be,” Lyles said. “I knew I didn’t want to go the education route because standard school wasn’t for me. That hold and lock school had on me was very tough. And I’d say that was my first grips with depression and coming out.
“When I was able to do track I was like, I felt like everything had been lifted and I would actually be able to live my life.”
In August 2020, Lyle acknowledged on social media he was taking anti-depressants.
Worst similar incident may have befallen the fastest man this year before Olympics, Trayvon Bromell who did not qualified for the 100m final after names of those who missed Tokyo; including Sha’carri Richardson was found written on the spikes he wore for the Tokyo Olympics.