USA Wonderkid Erriyon Knighton Is Blazing Past Usain Bolt’s Footsteps Ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 06/30/2021, 2:09 PM EDT


Ten years ago, few would even comprehend the possibility of anyone being faster than Usain Bolt or even coming close to his records for decades to come. Yet, just 4 years after his retirement, a new successor seems to have arrived in the form of Erriyon Knighton, who has smashed not one but two of Bolt’s records as he raced his way to the Tokyo Olympics this year. 

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The 17-year-old wonderkid was gaining momentum in the 200m heats as he defeated World Champion Noah Lyles to first place. In the semi-finals, he truly broke his own speed limit and clocked in at 19.88 seconds, shattering Usain Bolt’s all-time Under-20 record which stood at 19.93 seconds, set all the way back in 2004!

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In the 200m finals, he bested that and his own new record again by clocking in at 19.84, standing his name in the record books twice. Comparisons immediately paired him with Bolt, who also begun his career with break-neck speed. 

Billed at 6’3”, he certainly has the height to be the next Jamaican. However, it wouldn’t be too bold to entertain the thought that he could just become better and faster than the eight-time Olympic gold medallist.

BEIJING – AUGUST 20: Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts after breaking the world record with a time of 19.30 to win the gold medal in the Men’s 200m Final at the National Stadium during Day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 20, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Can Erriyon Knighton get faster than Usain Bolt?

Knighton ran an impressive 19.84 in the 200m finals to place third in the event. This also guaranteed his qualification for Tokyo, but that isn’t the only astounding fact. Bolt himself could not break 19.84 or lower until he was 20 years and 10 months old. At 17 years, Knighton was able to do that and still has more in the tank. 

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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)

He also has until the next Olympic Games to improve his timings and speed which may just make him ready to take the sprints by storm. Currently, his major competition rests in Noah Lyles. The World Champion clocked in at 19.74, the best time this year.

Kenny Bednarek also upped the ante with a speedy 19.78, which was a season-best performance for him. Lyles eyes an Olympic Gold medal and he seems ready to go straight through for it. Erriyon Knighton could pull off a major victory and take that medal and is a serious contender for the podium itself. 

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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.

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