'Going to be a monster': 17-year-old USA phenom Erriyon Knighton draws Usain Bolt comparisons

TOKYO - Erriyon Knighton looked depressed.
The 17-year-old sprinter is the youngest American athlete in the Olympic Games since 1964. He qualified here for the 200-meter final and competed against significantly older and more developed men in this race on Wednesday evening.
He crossed the finish line in 19.33 seconds without raising his arms in celebration.
He finished fourth.
The plan was a medal.
And with that somber look, Knighton said he never wanted to feel that way again.
"So we'll just come back," he said.
Back to the Olympics. Back to the final. Back with tempting potential.
You can rely on it.
In the 200 field, Knighton was the only sprinter to compare with Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprint legend who won eight Olympic gold medals before retiring in 2017. In May, Knighton broke Bolt's U18 record over 200 meters and in June he broke Bolt's U20 record over 200 meters.
Can he be an icon like Bolt? Asked a reporter on Wednesday evening.
"I don't know," said Knighton. "Only time can tell."
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Three years ago, Knighton was playing wide receivers before he was lured onto the track. Soon he was trading in his soccer shoes for training shoes. Speaking of track shoes, he showed up for a post-race interview wearing Jackie Joyner-Kersee custom spikes.
And what did the great long jumper and heptathlete mean to him?
"She has collected a lot of medals," said Knighton, underscoring what he expects of himself here and what he expects at the Olympics. “That was the goal from the beginning to get on the podium. Always, from the beginning of the year. "
Erriyon Knighton during the Tokyo Olympics.
But he's only been running the track for three years after he was lured away by the Hillsborough High School football team in Tampa, Florida. In the fall he is going into his senior year.
"He will be dangerous in the future," said Kenny Bednarek, the American sprinter who won the silver medal. “Seventeen years old, to be able to run that fast, he's raw, he's got a lot of talent and a lot of things to work on. And he will definitely be a monster in the future. "
The praise hasn't lifted Knighton's spirits, although the 17-year-old sprinters are said to be watching the Olympics instead of attending.
"I'm very proud of him," said Noah Lyles, the American sprinter, after winning the bronze medal in the 200 final. “I tell him this all the time and he comes out of here and he comes to win. ... If he keeps pushing, I believe he is well on his way to doing more amazing things. "
Despite his disappointment over the failure of the medal, Knighton said of the Olympics, “It was a fun experience. I'll be here a few more days. ’
But it sounded like track training was going to resume soon. What did he want to focus on?
Everything, he said.
He also said he'll be looking for colleges at some point, but he'll be returning to Hillsborough High School this fall - as the world's fastest high school graduate.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Erriyon Knighton Misses Olympic Medal, But Will "Be A Monster"
In this article:
Usain Bolt
Jamaican sprinter
Erriyon Knighton
American male sprinter

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