Story at a glance

  • Erriyon Knighton, 17, won the 200-meter with a time of 20.11 seconds at Monday’s American Track League meet.
  • In 2003, Usain Bolt set the junior record for the 200-meter with a time of 20.13 seconds.
  • Knighton qualified to compete in two weeks in the U.S. Olympic trials.

A Florida teenager broke track phenom Usain Bolt’s 200-meter race time for athletes under the age of 18 at Monday’s American Track League meet.

Erriyon Knighton, 17, won the 200 with a time of 20.11, shaving off 0.02 seconds from Bolt’s time in 2003, according to NBC Sports. Trayvon Bromell, who ran this year’s fastest 100-meter with a time of 9.88, came in second with 20.20, his best performance in the 200 since 2015.

Knighton began sprinting after his football coach encouraged him to join the track team his freshman year at Tampa Hillsborough High School, according to HHS Today, the Hillborough High School student newspaper. While wide receiver for the school’s football team, he reportedly had offers to play in college for schools such as University of Alabama, University of Florida and Florida State University. He decided to run professionally his junior year.


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Knighton qualified to compete in two weeks in the U.S. Olympic trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

The top three at the trials will go on to join the Olympic team. Knighton ranks seventh among Americans for the 200 and will face off against favorites Noah Lyles, Kenny Bednarek, and Terrance Laird, who each have run 19.81 or faster. 

Knighton is younger than any U.S. Olympic male track and field athlete since Jim Ryun, who ran the mile in 1964 at age 17, according to Olympedia.org.


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Published on Jun 02, 2021