Erriyon Knighton Becomes World’s Fourth Fastest Man in 200m; Beating Noah Lyles, Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Other Icons

Published 05/01/2022, 10:45 AM EDT
TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 03: Erriyon Knighton of Team United States competes in round one of the Men’s 200m heats on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Erriyon Knighton, sprinting sensation extraordinaire, has become the fourth fastest man in the world. Coming out on top at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Knighton beat out all his competitors with a clear lead and a time of 19.49 seconds, with Fahnbulleh taking second place in 19.92.

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With 13 ranked teams in the field and 11 athletes with Olympic and World Championship medals, the 2022 LSU Invitational was bound to be competitive. And at this event, Knighton broke his own under-20 world record by 0.35 seconds. Only three men have set higher records: Bolt (19.19), Yohan Blake (19.26), and Michael Johnson (19.32). He topped his personal best of 19.84 seconds set at last year’s Olympic trials, and Knighton is only 18 years old.

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Overtaking top athletes

Just last season, Knighton beat Bolt’s 200m junior record by 0.02 seconds. Through the rounds and Olympic build-up, he beat Bolt’s record seven times over. In June, the then 17-year-old became the youngest American man to make a United States Olympic athletics team in 57 years. At the Olympics, Knighton finished fourth in the final, right behind Noah Lyles. His new time has beat out Lyles’ (19.50), whom Knighton considers one of his personal heroes.

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)
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He has passed even athletes like Olympic champion Andre De Grasse (19.62), and World Champions Justin Gatlin (19.57) and Tyson Gay (19.58).

What’s next for Erriyon Knighton

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Off the field, Knighton is a student at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida. Originally Knighton was a football player. An excellent player, he had the country’s top college football programs vying for him. But the pandemic hit, the high school season shut down, and Knighton changed his focus to track, a side hustle at the time. And thank god he did, for Knighton seems to be right on track for rewriting track and field history.

EUGENE, OREGON – JUNE 27: Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton hug 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 Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A bona fide breakout star, the fans are looking forward to what Knighton will do next. Making it to the world’s top 4 is no easy feat and Knighton has caught everyone’s attention.

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In June, Knighton is set to compete at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Depending on his performance, he would qualify for the World Outdoor Championships in July.
WATCH THIS STORY: 18-Year-Old Erriyon Knighton Threatens Usain Bolt’s Long-Standing World Record with Impressive 200m Record

At the rate he is going, he just might make it onto the World Championships team. Both of these meets will be held in Eugene, Oregon.

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Mansi Jain

188 articles

Mansi Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia and Mass Communication from the University of Delhi and has previously interned for HT Media. When not online, Mansi can be found pursuing the shelves at the nearest bookstore.

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