Erriyon Knighton in Tokyo, Oregon, Paris and beyond

A high school in the United States is shown where people play American football.Because they were excited to see the cheerleaders take their places, some people in the stands clapped. 100 people came to the stands. A scene from Friday Night Lights.

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He can get a kick return for the home team at the 10-yard line. A red-clad man is able to do this. He sees a hole in the defense and runs through it.

Then, at full speed, he gets to the middle of the road. His legs and arms hurt when the last person comes in. He wants to close the gap. But it’s all for nothing. His easy, flowing stride eats the field and sends him to the end zone for their side. 

As soon as next year, there will be a four-minute video

It was not just me. All the best college football teams in the country were making offers for Knighton because of his speed and 6’3″ height “good stature, a good hand, and a good fight.”

While it was true that as the disease spread, the lines of disagreement began to change. That’s why Knighton took a different route. At that time, the high school season might have been going on. It’s likely I would have kept playing football if I had been given one more year to play.

When the football field at the school was getting ready to play, Knighton ran on a track. When he was a kid, the football coach told him to start running. If he did this, he would be able to improve his wide receiver skills.

In ninth grade, Knighton had never run track. Then I didn’t know what 100 meters was, so I had to look it up. Until then, I didn’t know that. Tracks were new to me. Many people were in the group. I was a little faster than the rest of them. They also haven’t been able to keep up.

There were Junior Olympics all over the country in a few months.

This is how long it took him to run 200 meters: 20.33 seconds. He came in first place in that race, which was against other 16-year-olds. People in the stands can be heard swearing in disbelief as the wobble starts and Knighton’s huge advantage is made clear by the shaking.

In terms of speed records for people under 18, Usain Bolt was the only one who came close. There were only three people in the United States who broke the two-minute barrier that year, no matter how old they were. Noah Lyles, Josephus Lyles, and Kenny Bednarek were the only three. Instead of shoulder pads, Knighton would wear spikes on his shoulder. He would keep them on all through his life.

When he turned 16 in January 2021, though, he made a big decision in his life that changed everything. His first job was at the age of 16. He could no longer speak for his school. He was no longer able to get money from scholarships to go to college, so he didn’t go.

His journey had taken him off the beaten path. He reached the top of the mountain without going on the main road. They thought it was too much. Hubris is nourished by hype.

One thing that a lot of people kept telling me wasn’t good enough for me to do was to not do it. I was not ready when I told them.



They used to say that. Knighton gets excited. First in 57 years, a 17-year-old American was chosen for the U.S. Olympic track and field team. After the Olympics in Tokyo, it took him five weeks to finish fourth in the 200 meters. He was only one place away from the medals. Under-18 world record: Bolt’s speed. He won seven times out of many games.

One of the new stars? He’s well-known for that. During the summer, the Oregon World Championships will be right here in our own city. New things will happen for you. Knighton won’t run out of time. The clock is on his side.

18-year-old: “I was down in Tokyo, but I had to think big picture and long term.” At 24 in 2028, I’ll still be “young.” I think about that all the time. My mind can’t forget about Tokyo. As long as I live, I won’t forget it. How can I not get tired?

The more I get old, the more my strength and speed will only get stronger and faster. “I’m still a work in progress.”

Knighton is still being worked on. It is in Tampa, Florida, and he has gone back to Hillsborough High School. There, he meets both old and new friends and football teammates. Even though the teen has a little more money and a few free tracksuits, he is still the same.

A lot of people wanted to take pictures with him at the start of the school year, he says now, but he doesn’t remember that. In the middle of all the chaos, I’m pretty sure that I signed an autograph. There’s a break in the fight. There isn’t as much attention paid to Erriyon as there used to be.

Often, people say, “You go to school with Erriyon,” when they see them at other schools in the neighborhood. At my school, “it’s not important.”

Many more people will learn about Knighton’s fame in the years to come.

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