A 17-year-old Florida track star just broke a record previously held by Usain Bolt, qualifying for the Olympic trials.
Erriyon Knighton broke the 200-meter record of track legend Usain Bolt at the American Track League meet on Memorial Day. In Jacksonville, Knighton wowed the crowd, winning the U18 race with a finishing time of 20.1, beating Bolt’s 2003 time by just 0.02 seconds. Knighton now ranks seventh among Americans in the 200m this year and 13th since 2019.
The Tampa, Florida native outpaced 25-year-old Olympic 100m favorite, Trayvon Bromell, and British track stars Zharnel Hughes and Adam Gemili. Bromell had the fastest 100-meter this year, with a time of 9.88. Hughes broke Jamaican High School sprint records seven years ago, and Gemili ranked fourth in the 2016 Olympics, and 2019 Worlds match.
Knighton first joined the track team as a sprinter his freshman year at Hillsborough High School. Formerly, he was a 6-foot-3 wide receiver with several D1 football offers on his plate: the University of Alabama, the University of Florida, and Florida State University. During his junior year, Knighton decided to run professionally.
“Knowing that I grew up around football my whole life and receiving a lot of D1 offers, it was a tough decision, but it was also a no-brainer. In track, the success of my career is fully in my hands, and I know that I can do it,” Knighton said.
He is now qualified to race in the U.S. Olympic Trials in two weeks. Knighton will be the youngest Olympic male runner in track and field in nearly 60 years, the first being Jim Ryun, who represented the U.S. in 1964.
He recently turned 17 in January and holds several records already, including one for the fastest 100m, clocking in at 10.16. As it stands, Bolt still has the record for fastest 200m by a 17-year-old, which was set in April 2004, Bolt logging a time of 19.93.
Photo Courtesy of USATF