Should We Weigh Down 18-Year-Old Erriyon Knighton With the Pressure of Beating Usain Bolt’s World Record?

Published 05/02/2022, 12:16 PM 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)

The US track and field community produces some of the best athletes in the world. Erriyon Knighton has recently come to the forefront due to his incredible performance on the track. And, at just 18, he has set the fourth-fastest time ever in the 200-meters competition.

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Naturally, when a young athlete receives much attention, it adds unnecessary pressure. This could have devastating effects directly affecting their performances. Moreover, these young athletes probably would buckle under pressure, causing them to stagnate in their careers. Hence, Knighton’s trajectory is a cause for concern.

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Will Erriyon Knighton buckle under pressure?

He recently set a time of 19.49 seconds at the LSU invitational. Earlier, the wunderkind broke Usain Bolt’s under-20 world record. With this, he is the fourth-fastest behind Usain Bolt (19.19), fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26), and American Michael Johnson (19.32). Now obviously, this news has traveled all over the world.

With more recognition comes more pressure. And Knighton may be riding that fine line right now.

 

YANQING, CHINA – FEBRUARY 09: Mikaela Shiffrin of Team United States reacts prior to the Women’s Slalom Run 1 on day five of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Alpine Ski Centre on February 09, 2022 in Yanqing, China. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The pressures that come across being a world-class athlete are immense. Time and time again, athletes crumble under pressure, not being able to perform well. This causes a lack of complete dysfunction during major events.

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WATCH: 18-Year-Old Erriyon Knighton Threatens Usain Bolt’s Long-Standing World Record with Impressive 200m Record

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The recent 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics saw Mikaela Shiffrin facing pressure and could not muster up an Olympic medal. Even though she is one of the best skiers in the sport, even the biggest of stars face incredible pressures.

Simone Biles’ withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics 2020

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics saw Simone Biles withdraw from team gymnastics competitions due to the pressures she faced. Coming to Tokyo being labeled as the favorite to dominate the events, Biles’ withdrawal came as a shock. Even with 32 Olympics and World Championships medals, Biles was unable carry forward and has been taking a break from gymnastics. This is where the mental health of Knighton should be taken seriously.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Women’s Team – Final – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States wearing a protective face mask is seen leaving a medical station during the final REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY SEARCH “POY SPORTS” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “REUTERS POY” FOR ALL BEST OF 2021 PACKAGES

After breaking into the top five fastest times for the 200-meters, Knighton is being dubbed to break Bolt’s world record. At this point, hyping him up causes unnecessary pressure on the sensational athlete.

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The development of young athletes need proper nurturing and having a stable mind is important these days. Erriyon Knighton is reaching a place where the media will be following him wherever he goes. The ability of the young man to divert all media attention to his performances would be key for him, to have a brilliant career. Hopefully, he achieves that in the near distant future.

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Jacob Gijy

1252 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Post Graduation in Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the power forward, the respect he deserves.

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