‘Next Usain Bolt’ Erriyon Knighton Rejected Huge Offers to Become an Athlete for Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 07/01/2021, 4:07 AM EDT


Erriyon Knighton made his name known and his presence felt on the tracks of the Olympic Trials. The 17-year old made history by smashing Usain Bolt’s all-time Under-20 record and is heading to the Olympics as the youngest athlete to ever represent his country in nearly 60 years. 

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The Florida native broke new ground not only with his performance in the heats and semi-finals but also by qualifying for the Olympics at such a young stage and for such a competitive event. 

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Following his qualification, Florida Today brought to light the fact that Knighton had previously received football offers that came his way from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, and Florida. Turning them all down, he chose to pursue athletics instead! 

While a career in football may have also led to interesting paths, Knighton knew just where he would make a difference and stuck to that route. Now, he is being compared to Usain Bolt himself. Heading towards his first Olympic Games, Knighton is expected to find a way onto the podium for the 200m event. 

Erriyon Knighton broke Usain Bolt’s record twice

Usain Bolt had set the all-time Under-20 record all the way back in 2004 by clocking a massive 19.94 seconds for the 200m event. The record stood untouched until Erriyon Knighton smashed it in the Semifinals of the Olympic trials this year. The 17-year-old made it in 19.88 to shatter the record. 

EUGENE, OREGON – JUNE 27: Erriyon Knighton and Noah Lyles react after competing in the Men’s 200 Meter Final during day ten of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 27, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

He made another statement by bettering his own new record, clocking a speedy 19.84 in the finals of the event. However, the new record and personal best weren’t enough to win him first or second place in the race. World Champion Noah Lyles clocked the fastest time this year at 19.74 to win the race followed by Kenny Bednarek’s season-best time of 19.78.

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DIVE DEEPER

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The three athletes head to Tokyo expecting to win big. Aerriyon Knighton is the dark horse but may well make history before his time. His achievements exceed his age already and we may be looking at the next fastest person to grace the sport. 

EUGENE, OREGON – JUNE 27: Kenny Bednarek, Noah Lyles, and Erriyon Knighton pose on the podium after the Men’s 200 Meter Final during day ten of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 27, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Still having his best years ahead of him, Erriyon Knighton is on the hot track to being a real phenomenon and can finish this impressive season on a high by earning a place on the podium in Tokyo. 

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Luke Dias

1464 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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