17 Year-Old USA Wonderkid Beats World Champion at Olympics 200m Heats

Published 06/26/2021, 11:36 AM EDT


Usain Bolt was by far the most untouchable athlete in his prime. Racing down the tracks and breaking records, it seems as though no one could ever come close to him. That was until the 17-year old Erriyon Knighton showed up, and is set to give Bolt his first sense of a successor. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Knighton participated in the Olympic trials for the men’s 200m sprint. Featuring in the heat alongside favorites Noah Lyles and Fred Kerley, the high schooler was in elite company. However, he shocked the entire stadium by managing to overtake and defeat both Olympians, clocking in at a breezy 20.04. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

He not only beat his own previous record but has moved close towards Usain Bolt’s all-time Under-20 record of 19.93. This record was set all the way back in 2004 by the Jamaican and few have even got close to it since then. 

With two more years left, Knighton will undoubtedly be aiming for that record before moving into his 20s. He is currently in second place in that regard but has emerged as a serious surprise contender for the Olympics 200m gold. 

Erriyon Knighton can turn out to be the big surprise at the Olympics

Noah Lyles won the World Championship for 200m in Doha 2019. As expected, he was the favorite heading into the race and fans expect him to be on the track at the Olympics as well. However, he clocked in at 20.19, bested by Knighton.

In third place was Fred Kerley who has already qualified for the men’s 100m event. He looks to head to Tokyo for multiple events and the road is open to him now. Erriyon Knighton will have to repeat the same performance if he plans on qualifying for the Olympics. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Knighton already broke a previous 200m record of Usain Bolt 3 weeks earlier. He moved to second place by shattering the record the Jamaican set in 2003 as an Under-20 athlete. The road ahead is as challenging as it’s going to get. 

Apart from Noah Lyles, he faces competition from Trayvon Bromell, who has emerged as a favorite for the 100m sprint. He aims to turn the 200m race to his fortune as well. Noah Lyles, Kenny Bednarek, and Terrance Laird are known to have clocked in at 19.81 or faster since 2020 and it really will be a key moment for Erriyon Knighton, should he be able to beat them to the punch. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Heartbreaking News Inspired Emma Coburn to Qualify for Tokyo Olympics 2021

about 1 month ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Luke Dias

1476 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

essentiallysports's Stories