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Teen Beat 2 Usain Bolt Records. Now He's Bound for Olympics

Meet 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton, who's headed to Tokyo for 200-meter competition
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2021 11:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Over the weekend, Erriyon Knighton became the youngest male to make the US Olympic track and field team in nearly 60 years, and he also now has two big record-busters under his belt to boot. The Athletic reports that on Sunday, the 17-year-old came in third place in the finals for the men's 200-meter race, clinching his spot on Team USA for the Tokyo Games. This achievement came one day after Knighton came in first in the semifinals with a time of 19.88 seconds, a sprint that beat the under-20 2004 record of 19.93 seconds set by a then-17-year-old Usain Bolt. In the finals on Sunday, Knighton then proceeded to beat his Saturday record, coming in at 19.84 seconds, just behind 23-year-old Noah Lyles' 19.74 seconds and 22-year-old Kenny Bednarek's 19.78 seconds.

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USA Today notes this is the second Bolt youth record that Knighton has broken: A few weeks ago at a Florida meet, Knighton ran the 200 in 20.11 seconds, displacing Bolt's under-18 record from 2003 of 20.13 (watch Knighton smash that record here). Knighton counts Bolt, Lyles, and retired sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson as among his inspirations, per Reuters. With this weekend's accomplishment, Knighton will be the youngest American man to make the Olympic track and field squad since Jim Ryun qualified for the 1,500-meter race in 1964, also at the age of 17. (Read more Erriyon Knighton stories.)

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