TAMPA, Fla. (WNCN) — A 17-year-old Tampa high school student made history at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon last weekend.
Erriyon Knighton, 17, broke the records of the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt.
His track coach, is Jonathan “JT” Terry, in Hillsborough County (Tampa) Florida.
“I think this is probably one of the most historical performances ever,” Terry said.
At a meet in Florida earlier this month, Knighton ran the 200 in 20.11 seconds to beat the previous under-18 record set by Bolt in 2003. Then, less than a month later, Knighton ran a 19.88 in his semifinal heat at the Olympic trials – which bested the under-20 world record that Bolt notched in 2004. He then ran a time of 19.84 in the final heat, a personal best.
When Knighton finished all of his races, he would become the youngest track and field competitor to head to the Olympics since 1964.
Terry, who started ‘My Brother’s Keeper Track Club‘ where Knighton trained, is not surprised by his performance.
“I knew he was going to come up here and do a good job just through his preparation, through our training. But for him to come up here and achieve a personal best every round to advance to the finals, break Usain Bolt’s record three consecutive times, it was just completely amazing.”
Even more amazing, Terry said Knighton just started running track his freshman year.
“Three years ago. He’s always been a football guy, grew up on football. His auntie told him he needed to run track… He started his freshman year. He did pretty good and joined my club that summer and the rest is history.”
History indeed. Something even Erriyon himself is still in awe over.
“He’s just overwhelmed, man. I think at the time when it happened it was just a surreal moment. He didn’t realize what was happening until he was on the awards stand.”
Terry said Erriyon has always compared himself to Usain Bolt primarily because he’s so tall. He stands 6′ 3″. Usain Bolt is 6’5″.