Most 17-year-olds still decide what they want out of life. Erriyon Knighton on the other hand, had a terrible day. Not only has the young Floridian secured his place on the American Olympic team, making him the youngest American man to compete in Track & Field at the Olympics since Jim Ryun (1964) – but also breaking under the 18-record set by the legendary sprinter Usain Bolt ca. 2004 in the process.
Bolt’s long-running under-18 record for the 200-meter sprint was 20.13 seconds. Knighton looked at an impressive 19.84 seconds during the start before showing the world that it was not a fluke with an equally impressive 19.88 during the semifinals, and finally rounded out the qualifying event in Tokyo 2021 by finishing 3rd. space total by 20.04 seconds. And just to make the affair event more balls, Knighton left the track without even offering a post-run interview.
“It was a missed opportunity, but he gets plenty of others,” says world champion Noah Lyles, of whom Knighton struck in the opening and semifinals; Lyles only managed to place 1st during the final.
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But Knighton will still have to push a little further before breaking Bolt’s all-time record of 19.19 seconds for the 200-meter dash. 0.65 seconds to be exact. And considering how the former is not even eligible to vote in his home state yet, while the latter only entered this particular chapter in history at the age of 20 years and 10 months … it is safe to say that the boy has a bright future ahead. Who knows what he will achieve in 2021 or indeed in 2024?
“It’s just my third season of career,” Knighton said Track & Field News earlier this year.
“I have been extremely successful in both training and competition. I think if I work hard, I will eventually develop into a world class athlete. I soak it all up, all that knowledge. ”
Erriyon Knighton will join US Olympic Track & Field teammates Kenny Bednarek (19.84 seconds) and world champion Noah Lyles (19.74 seconds) later this year in Tokyo.