Noah Lyles danced across the red track at Hayward Field. He slapped hands and mugged for selfies with the fans and smiled as though he had won another world championship.
He had not. He had won a preliminary heat Monday in the 200-meter dash, his signature event. He was still another race and three nights away from a showdown with his budding rival, Erriyon Knighton, the teenage wunderkind of track and field that Lyles, who turned 25 Monday, had been not so long ago.
Most important though, Lyles appeared light years away from that heavy and hot night in Tokyo last year, when he broke down after winning the bronze medal in the 200, an event that most had expected him to win.