What the Guardian calls a "farcical ending" to an elite running event must've felt as crushing as it did absurd to the sprinter at the center of it all. On Thursday, 22-year-old Noah Lyles was a contender in the 200-meter race in the Inspiration Games, in which 30 runners competed virtually from seven locations around the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, per Runner's World. Running on a track in Bradenton, Fla., Lyles, the reigning 200-meter world champ, finished in an astounding 18.90 seconds—breaking his own personal best of 19.50, as well as Usain Bolt's world record of 19.19 seconds set in 2009. "That cannot be right!" retired runner Steve Cram can be heard exclaiming during the live broadcast, per CBS News.
The fact that Lyles was running into a headwind made it seem even more unlikely, the New York Daily News notes. As it turns out, it wasn't right: Organizers had Lyles line up in the wrong track lane, meaning the distance he had to run was cut to just 185 meters. Adjusted for 200 meters, Lyle's time would've been around 20.4 seconds—which still would've beat his competitors, except he was disqualified from the race. French runner Christophe Lemaitre was given the win in Switzerland with a time of 20.65 seconds. "You can't be playing with my emotions like this .... got me in the wrong [line] smh," Lyles tweeted after the race. (Read more runner stories.)