May 17, 2022 - Sports

Hillsborough High student is on track to become the world's fastest man

Men run on a track

Erriyon Knighton winning the men's 200 meters semi-final at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials. Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

A senior sprinter at Tampa's Hillsborough High School continues to astonish track and field fans on the national stage and could soon be the fastest man in the world.

Driving the news: Erriyon Knighton ran the 200 meters at the LSU Invitational on April 30 a half-second faster than Usain Bolt's time at the same age, 18.

  • "How fast was Knighton's 200?" the Wall Street Journal asked in a profile of Knighton published this weekend.
  • "Fast enough that it would have won the gold medal at last summer's Tokyo Olympics. Faster than all but three men β€” Bolt, Jamaica's Yohan Blake and retired American star Michael Johnson β€” have ever run the event."
  • Ever. And he's just 18.

The big picture: Knighton's time of 19.49 seconds means he's without a doubt one of the top sprinters headed into the World Championships in Oregon this July.

  • Bolt holds the 200-meter world record, 19.19 seconds, set at the 2009 World Championships, the day before his 23rd birthday.

What they're saying: "It's not an exaggeration," Trinidadian sprinter Ato Boldon told the WSJ, "to say that this is the most Beamon-esque junior performance that we have seen."

  • He's referring to Mexico City 1968, when Bob Beamon broke the long jump world record by almost two feet.

Flashback: The humble high schooler who switched from football to track as a freshman was featured in the New York Times and other national outlets when he made the Tokyo Olympics last year, where he finished fourth in the 200.

What's next: Before the world championships β€” for which he has to qualify at the U.S. championships in June β€” Knighton will race against one of the fastest 100-meter fields in history in the Prefontaine Classic on May 28.


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