Whether On The Track Or The Green Carpet, Noah Malone’s Swagger Is Unmatched
by Al Daniel
Sprinter Noah Malone has been unrivaled on the track this season. His fashion game is quickly gaining that status, too.
At the Prefontaine Classic earlier this month in Oregon, the reigning world champ in the men’s 100-meter T12 event claimed the victory in the men’s Para 100-meter race. Before competing, he turned heads with his pre-race outfit on the “green carpet.”
“I’m pretty big on fashion,” the 21-year-old from Fishers, Indiana, said. “I dress up a lot. I take pride in what I wear, on the track, off the track, in term of shoes, glasses, clothing.”
As well-traveled as three-time Paralympic medalist may be, he had yet to experience the University of Oregon’s hallowed Hayward Field, where the Pre Classic is held.
“This is the mecca of track and field,” Malone said, “especially here in the States.”
Para events were added to the Pre Classic in 2022. This year’s program included men’s and women’s 100-meter races that combined multiple classifications, giving Malone an opportunity to compete at the famous venue.
This also gave him a chance to show off his fashion sense.
“Any time I have an opportunity to capture a good photo, I’m going to jump at that,” he said, “let my creativity run.”
As far back as seventh grade, the Indiana State University senior has perpetually sought a fresh, suave, tone-setting wardrobe. That habit complements his commitment to excellence as an athlete and lets him balance his distribution of passion, pride and energy.
“Whatever I wear, I hold that near and dear to my heart,” Malone said.
In Oregon, Team USA’s social media pages caught Malone in cool stride alongside women’s T64 sprinter and jumper Beatriz Hatz. His shades, necklace, overcoat and duffel bag layered a lot of drip over his warmup attire.
“I think we did a good job with the pictures and the outfits,” he said. “You feel good, you look good, you run good. It all ties together. It all plays a part.”
Hours later, sporting a louder canvas of yellow and green on his uniform, he verified that connection. Ten-and-a-half weeks after garnering his first individual world title via the 100 in Paris, Malone defended his regal status before the home crowd with a 10.72-second hustle.
After his race, Malone joined his teammates in shifting from learners to teachers. As passionate as Oregonians are about track, they have received comparatively little exposure to the Para side of the sport.
The Pre Classic is the most prestigious international track event held in the U.S. each year and is a regular stop for the Diamond League. This year’s meet had even more significance than usual, as it served as the Diamond League Final.
The presence of Malone and his Para peers added a new dynamic to the meet.
“A lot of people saw Para track for the first time,” he said. “So hopefully we were able to give off a good representation of who we are and what we do and the talent we have.”
With this new swath of supporters, education was the main mission for Malone. He and his teammates relished fielding questions on the fly and explaining to spectators everything from why there were mixed classifications in their races to the stature their program has gained and still seeks.
“That’s what we like to see, especially going into LA 2028,” he said, referring to the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics in Los Angeles. “It’s a good steppingstone.”
That foundation for fanfare, the fashion statement and the victory made the Pre Classic a huge success for Malone. Now he plans to pace himself while focusing on competing at ISU.
With his collegiate schedule, Malone is avoiding international competitions until next summer. That includes next May’s world championships in Kobe, Japan.
“With being in school and the schedule here I have to commit to, it’s just not good timing,” he said. “The next international competition will likely be Paris of next year.”
That decision could buy him time to practice rocking berets. At this rate, he might need to further step up his fashion evolution to keep pace with his rise on the track.
“My progress is going in the right direction,” he said. “The main thing is to win, do the best I can, hopefully come out of the Paris Games with as many gold medals as I can.”
Al Daniel is a freelance features writer and contributor to usparatf.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. You can follow him on Twitter @WriterAlDaniel.