Noah Lyles sends message by raising gloved fist at trials

Jun 20, 2021, 11:38 AM | Updated: Jun 21, 2021, 5:00 pm

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Before the 100-meter final at the Olympic track trials, Noah Lyles raised a gloved fist.

He would not make it to the medals stand, the way Tommie Smith and John Carlos did in 1968. But the starting line Sunday might have been the first of several opportunities for the 23-year-old Lyles to spread his message.

In what went down as the first notable demonstration of the track trials, Lyles made a subtle gesture, wearing a black glove — minus the fingers — on his left hand, and raising his fist when he was introduced before the race.

He wound up seventh, but will be a favorite next weekend in the 200. If he wins there, he’ll be favored to stand on the podium at the Olympics as well.

His message through it all: Black Lives Matter.

“We’re still dying in the streets,” Lyles said after a race won by Trayvon Bromell. “Just because we stopped talking about it in the news or just because the Olympics are going on, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I am Black.”

Lyles has worn a black glove at a race before trials. It resembles those worn by Smith and Carlos, the sprinters whose raised fists on the medals podium in Mexico City stand as the iconic single moment of social protest in sports history.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee — with guidance from its recently formed Council on Racial and Social Justice — determined a few months ago that it would not sanction athletes who use the trials to demonstrate.

These trials, which feature subdued medals ceremonies with no national anthem, are a test run of sorts in the lead-up to the Olympics. In Tokyo, IOC officials say Rule 50, which bans demonstrations inside the lines, will remain in force. But the USOPC has vowed not to punish American athletes who partake in an “acceptable demonstration,” as dictated by their guidelines.

Allowable forms of demonstration include holding up a fist, kneeling during the anthem and wearing hats or face masks with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or words such as “equality” or “justice.”

In the past, Lyles has shown his support for Black Lives Matter through both speech and music. He released a song titled ” A Black Life.”

On SoundCloud, the song is accompanied by a caption: “I always think to myself what more can I do to help spread the word of injustice. This time I decided to use music. This song explains the pain and fear that almost all black people have to deal with in their life.”

He reiterated that message after the race, where he got off to a slow start and finished second-to-last.

“To be honest, you could hear a report about me tomorrow dying for no reason,” Lyles said. “I’m pretty sure some people would be sad. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be the only one — probably another after that, another after that. This needs to stop.”

USA Track and Field has made a number of stickers available to the athletes. Among the messages: “Be Kind,” “Courage,” “Together,” “Respect.” There’s also one with a silhouette of the iconic scene of Smith and Carlos on the medals stand.

“It’s something I believe in,” said Lyles, who’s the reigning world champion in the 200. “I felt like it was important I throw up some symbol. I’ve done it before and I’m going to continue to do it.”

___ and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates with teammate Theo Hernandez after scoring his side's opening goa...
Associated Press

Theo Hernandez wants to win World Cup for France and brother

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Theo Hernandez wants to win the World Cup for France. And for his big brother. Lucas Hernandez was in tears when he ruptured the ACL in his right knee early in France’s 4-1 win against Australia last week. His brother Theo replaced him at left back in a straight swap, even […]
1 day ago
Spectators leave the stands before the end of the second half of the World Cup group E soccer match...
Associated Press

World Cup TV pundit under fire for disparaging Qatari attire

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Former Germany forward Sandro Wagner is under fire for a disparaging remark he made about Qatari men’s traditional attire while commentating for TV during Germany and Spain’s World Cup match on Sunday. Wagner was commentating on the teams’ 1-1 draw for German broadcaster ZDF when he said in the 79th minute […]
1 day ago
Ecuador's Enner Valencia is attended by medical personnel during the World Cup group A soccer match...
Associated Press

Ecuador frets over Valencia ahead of Senegal at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Enner Valencia has scored Ecuador’s last six World Cup goals so there’s no understating how worried his country is after he was carried off the field on a stretcher against the Netherlands . Ecuador hopes that the 33-year-old striker’s troublesome knees are OK for a decisive final group match against Senegal […]
1 day ago
Germany's head coach Hansi Flick attends a news conference on the eve of the group E World Cup socc...
Associated Press

FIFA charges Germany for no player at news conference

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Germany was charged in a disciplinary case by FIFA on Monday, though not for its players’ “hands covering mouths” protest before playing a World Cup game last week. FIFA said it opened a case against the German soccer federation for not bringing players to its mandatory news conferences one day before […]
1 day ago
Head coach Gregg Berhalter of the United States walks on the pitch during an official training sess...
Associated Press

US has clear World Cup task against Iran: win or go home

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The task is clear for the United States: beat Iran in a politically charged World Cup match or go home. U.S. players have been praised as the best generation of American soccer. But they finished third behind Canada and Mexico in World Cup qualifying and now face a must-win final group-stage […]
1 day ago
Head coach Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands applauds prior the start the World Cup group A soccer ...
Associated Press

Netherlands under Van Gaal on cusp of advancing at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The Netherlands is on the verge of reaching the knockout stage at the World Cup and an overwhelming favorite in its final Group A match on Tuesday against host nation Qatar. If the Dutch advance it will put more focus on 71-year-old coach Louis van Gaal, who stepped out of retirement […]
1 day ago
Noah Lyles sends message by raising gloved fist at trials