The youngest male athlete to represent the United States in track and field at the Olympics since Jim Ryun in 1964 will have a shot at a gold medal.
Hillsborough High’s Erriyon Knighton, just 17 years old, won his 200-meters semifinal in Tokyo.
Knighton, who prior to the Olympics broke Usain Bolt’s under-18 200 record, edged Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer by .11 to take his semifinal, one of three on the day, in 20.02 seconds. Canada’s Andre De Grasse, who won bronze in the 100 meters earlier in these games, finished the semifinal round with the best overall time (19.73 seconds).
Americans Noah Lyles, ranked No. 1 in the world, and Kenneth Bednarek also are in the final.
Knighton, who already has turned pro and signed with Adidas, also will have a shot at two more of Bolt’s records. The Jamaican sprinter’s world record in the 200 is 19.19 (set in 2009) and his Olympic mark is 19.30 (set in 2008). Knighton’s personal best in the event is 19.84 seconds.
A former coach said before the Summer Games to not overlook Knighton.
When Joe Sipp, Hillsborough High’s track coach, first saw the teenage phenom ahead of his freshman year, he ran past the other boys “like they were standing still.” He went on to add, “I think he can be an Olympic champion one day.”
The 200 final will stream live on Peacock as part of track and field coverage from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday.