US Olympic sprinter Erriyon Knighton, just 17, set to shine

Erriyon Knighton isn’t sufficiently old to toast his victories with champagne — or the rest. He can’t get a tattoo with out a mum or dad’s approval or vote and even struggle for his nation. However on the Tokyo Olympics he’ll run for it — and possibly even win for it.

The phenom from Florida launched himself to trace followers when he broke Usain Bolt’s under-18 and under-20 world information within the 200 meters. The 17-year-old will introduce himself to the remainder of the world when he runs in Monday night time’s heats in Tokyo, turning into the youngest monitor star for Group USA since 1964.

“I imply, I did good. I’m on a staff at 17, so I can’t complain,” Knighton mentioned after the U.S. Olympic trials. “It hasn’t sunk in. It’ll in all probability sink in [later]. However as of proper now, I’m simply pleased. I really feel prefer it’s an actual large accomplishment.”

Make that an Olympic-sized one. In all probability, there can be many extra.

After working a 20.11 earlier this season to interrupt the under-18 mark set by Bolt in 2003, Knighton turned in a blistering 19.88 within the Olympic trials semifinals to shatter the under-20 world document owned by arguably monitor’s largest star ever.

Erriyon Knighton
Erriyon Knighton reacts after successful his warmth of the boys’s 200 meter semifinals on the Olympic trials.
Getty Photographs

Knighton’s 19.84 encore within the last — by which he stormed again from fifth place (at greatest) coming off the flip to complete third — lowered his personal U-20 document, and left him with the fourth-fastest time on this planet this yr. And it stamped him as the way forward for sprinting — presumably the not-too-distant future, relying on the subsequent week.

Solely two of the three males who’ve run quicker that Knighton this season are in Tokyo, so he’s in prime place to earn an Olympic medal.

“It hasn’t hit actuality but. I really feel like after I get there it would sink in. After I understand when I’m there hopefully I’ll do good,” Knighton informed ABC Information, earlier than amending that.

“I’m going to do good.”

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There’s no motive to doubt it. He had by no means run a monitor meet till 2 ½ years in the past, and can line up towards the world’s greatest Monday regardless of not but having began his senior yr of highschool.

Naturally there have been inevitable comparisons to Carl Lewis, a phenom in his schoolboy days at Willingboro (N.J.) Excessive. And whereas the Bolt comparisons are unfair, Knighton doesn’t draw back from them. When requested final yr if he’d liken his working model to anyone, he in contrast it to the triple world record-holder.

“Most likely Usain Bolt,” Knighton informed Florida Right now, “simply because he’s tall like me.”

And increasingly, he’s working like Bolt.

Like Bolt, Lewis and different tall sprinters, the 6-foot-3 Knighton doesn’t all the time lead out of the blocks. However in contrast to so many tall sprinters with out a low heart of gravity, he excels on the flip. And when he unfurls his stride, he’s nearly not possible to carry off.

Fred Kerley (who took silver within the 100 Sunday) and veteran Isiah Younger (a 2012 Olympian) each discovered that out when Knighton overtook them within the Olympic trials 200 meters last for the third and final spot. And Noah Lyles realized it when he obtained caught from behind within the semifinals, and needed to work to carry on and win the ultimate.

“[Lyles] gave me quite a lot of recommendation,” mentioned Knighton, simply 0.10 seconds behind Lyles for the world lead. “He really informed me that I achieved the dream that he was had make the staff in highschool.”

Erriyon Knighton
Getty Photographs

Rising up Florida, it’s not surprising that Knighton was a soccer standout at Hillsborough Excessive College in Tampa. Rated a four-star prospect by 247 Sports activities, he obtained presents from powerhouses akin to Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee because of final yr’s development spurt and that blinding velocity.

However incomes his breakthrough Olympic season is proof he made the appropriate name.

Since turning skilled in January — shortly after his seventeenth birthday — Knighton has piled up wins and earned $200,000. That features signing with Adidas that very same month and being featured of their “Inconceivable Is Nothing” marketing campaign in April.

“I do know my potential,” Knighton wrote on Instagram. “I see the greatness in me everytime I see my reflection.”

The remainder of the world might even see that greatness over the subsequent week. | US Olympic sprinter Erriyon Knighton, simply 17, set to shine


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