Erriyon Knighton is the 17-year-old Florida native who just broke Usain Bolt’s record and is on his way to the Olympics.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Knighton is set to be one of the youngest athletes to represent Team USA this summer after he finished third in the men’s 200-meter final at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, this past Sunday. Knighton could very well be the youngest American male to make it to the Olympic track and field team since Jim Ryun in 1964.
It wasn’t until Knighton became a freshman at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida, that he began competing in track and field. In his first major competition, he won fifth place in the 200-meter dash. His idea to participate in track and field came as a suggestion from Knighton’s high school football coaches.
At the beginning of 2021, Knighton chose to run professionally, later signing a contract with Adidas and hiring top sports agents Ramon Clay and John Regis.
“It’s only my third season running track,” Knighton told Track & Field News earlier this year, Yahoo! News reports. “I’ve been extremely successful in both training and competition. I believe if I work hard, I will eventually develop to be a world-class athlete. I’m soaking it all up, all the knowledge.”
This will be the second time now that Knighton has broken Bolt’s youth records. Knighton ran the 200 in 20.11 seconds earlier this month, beating the previous under-18 record Bolt set in 2003. This past Sunday, Knighton ran a 19.88 in his semifinal heat at the Olympic trials, knocking out Bolt’s under-20 world record he achieved in 2004.