EUGENE, Ore. — Tampa’s Erriyon Knighton is heading to the Tokyo Olympics after finishing third in the men’s 200-meter final at the U.S. track and field trials Sunday night.
Knighton, 17, broke his under-20 world record, running 19.84 seconds, to finish behind winner Noah Lyles, the reigning world champion, and Kenny Bednarek. Knighton broke Usain Bolt’s under-20 world record with 19.88 in the semifinals. He was the fastest qualifier going into the final.
“I just stayed focused,” Knighton told NBC in a postrace interview about his performance in the final.
Knighton, who turned 17 in January and turned pro as a junior at Hillsborough High, is set to become the youngest U.S. man to compete in track and field at the Olympics since Jim Ryun in 1964, according to olympedia.org.
Lyles won in 19.74, the best time in the world this year. Bednarek crossed the finish line in 19.78.
Lyles celebrated his win by kneeling on the track and clasping his hands together.
“I just stopped stressing and let my body do what it does,” he said. His win and world-best time came on the heels of some lackluster runs through the 100 and 200 rounds. He was bested by Knighton in the 200 heats and semifinals.
The Olympics start July 23.