Noah Lyles breaks Michael Johnson's U.S. record that stood since 1996

He finished so far ahead of the other runners in Thursday night's final at the World Athletics Championships that after crossing the finish line

But for agonizing moments, the on-field clock stubbornly showed Lyles' unofficial time as 19.32. 

The mark would elate any other runner in the world, but it was also the same time Michael Johnson set in the 200 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Since then, it has seemed unassailable. Until now.

Lyles, 25, stood with his hands on his hips, staring. He walked over to the clock at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., talking to it.

"I was telling it to give me some slack, you know?" he later said, laughing with reporters. "How's it going to show the same time, 19.32? Come on, change that."

He crouched toward it, wondering if his hard work would pay off. Lyles targeted the record one summer after winning a disappointing (for him) bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

It all came together in Oregon, where Lyles used a fantastic start to take command of a highly anticipated race.