The new Usain Bolt? Erriyon Knighton becomes fourth-fastest 200m sprinter in history

Knighton at Tokyo 2020.

Erriyon Knighton is now the fourth-fastest man over 200 metres in recorded human history.

In an astonishing performance from the 18-year-old over the weekend, the world witnessed the first 200-metre run to dip beneath the 19.50-second mark since Usain Bolt was in his prime.

Knighton remarkably crossed the line with a time of 19.49 seconds at the LSU Invitational that saw him further shatter the World Junior Record that he had already posted last year.

Knighton makes history

The American first made headlines when he qualified for the 2020 Olympics with a time of 19.84 seconds, which saw him break the U18 world record previously held by none other than Bolt himself.

Bolt, then 17 years old, had covered half a lap faster than any under-18 male before him when he ran a time of 19.93 seconds at the Annual Carifta Games in Bermuda back in 2004.

According to World Athletics, the Jamaican icon also happened to hold the under-20 world record with that very same posting, until Knighton came along and blew the clocking out of the water.

However, it was one thing for Knighton to blow away Bolt’s youth record by 0.09 seconds and it was another thing to completely obliterate it by a margin of 0.44 seconds.

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Knighton’s stunning 200m victory

It truly is a massive margin in the context of sprinting and one that not only saw Knighton break his own World Junior Record, as well as Bolt’s former mark, but also placed him amongst the all-time greats.

That’s because Bolt (19.19), Yohan Blake (19.26) and Michael Johnson (19.32) now stand as the only three athletes to have covered 200 metres faster than Knighton did this weekend.

In fact, the 18-year-old’s blistering performance was the eighth-fastest 200m metre run period with Bolt only having covered the distance quicker than that four times in his entire career.

Two of those runs from Bolt happened to be world-record performances, while the 19.32 and 19.40 clockings that he also registered came in Olympic and World Championship finals.

What we’re trying to get across here is that it was a truly Herculean run from Knighton, so be sure to check out his historic performance in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for yourself by watching the race down below:

Goodness gracious me. Imagine running like that at 18 years old. Staggering.

The new Usain Bolt?

The simple fact of the matter is that Knighton is considerably faster than Bolt was at the same age and that could well mean that he’s on a trajectory to threaten the Jamaican’s long-standing world records.

Now, any athletics fan will know that it’s too early to get ahead of ourselves because there have been countless sad examples of sprinters who have peaked at a young age and then fizzled out.

But the reality of the situation is that Knighton is peaking higher than any other male 200m sprinter before him and he’s not a million miles away from the records right this second.

Knighton at US Olympic Trials.
Jun 25, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; Erriyon Knighton wins 200m heat in 20.04 for the top time during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, 0.30 seconds is practically a lightyear when it comes to sprinting, but the numbers don’t lie and they point towards Knighton being the best candidate yet for the ‘New Usain Bolt’ over 200m.

Brace yourself for history.

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