Tag Archives: Kenny Bednarek

US teen sprint sensation who broke Usain Bolt’s world record

Erriyon Knighton is only 18, but his name is already being spoken in the same breath as sprint legend Usain Bolt.

Track athletics phenom Knighton already has a sub-10 second time in the men’s 100m and became the first American teenager to ever run the 200m under 20 seconds, a feat he has repeated several times.

In the longer sprint distance he broke eight-time gold medallist Bolt’s world Under-20 record that had stood unbeaten for 18 years, and has also bettered the world U18 best.

The fast-rising star is a favourite to make a debut at the World Athletics Championships that will be held in July 2022 in Eugene, Oregon.

Here are the top things to know about one of America’s most promising sprinters, who finished fourth in the 200m at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

Knighton’s first sport was football

Just two years ago, the 1.91m (6 foot 3 inch) teenager, who takes his height from his father, a former basketball player, was focused on outrunning the cornerbacks lined up against him on the American football pitch.

The wide receiver at Tampa Hillsborough High School seemed keen to pursue his sporting interests in the NFL, and several of the best American colleges with strong football programmes were keen to draft the speedy teen.

But with most team sports restricted due to the pandemic, Knighton opted to focus on his other passion – track.

“I only started running track in the ninth grade,” Knighton said in an interview with the BBC on his start in athletics as a freshman.

“Before then you could have asked me what 100m was and I wouldn’t have known. I knew nothing about track. By the end of that year, I realised that I was kind of separated from the pack and faster than most people.”

 He’s a world record holder

It turned out to be a smooth switch from football cleats to spikes.

The then 16-year-old was in a class of his own as he shattered the 15-16 age group record with a 20.33 run in the 200m at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.

That race from August 2020 was also the fastest in the U.S. and a huge improvement of his personal best of 20.89.

The previous 15-16 age group record was 20.62 set by Tyrese Cooper from 2016.

The Florida native, who opted to turn professional in January 2021, was just getting started. He dashed to 9.99 seconds but with an high tailwind (+2.7) rendering his time illegal.

Despite that, Knighton had become the third high school sprinter to break 10 seconds, after Trayvon Bromell (9.99, +4.0) in 2013 and Matthew Boling (9.98 +4.2) in 2019.

Five months after that, he blew away a field that included Bromell and Commonwealth Games champion Zharnel Hughes, bettering Bolt’s World U18 best of 20.13 seconds set in 2003.

Knighton ran 20.11.

That mark qualified him for the USATF Olympic Trials where “he put on the gas as he had a world champion chasing him down”.

The 17-year-old made the final of the Olympic Trials, where he achieved several historic firsts.

He topped the 200m semi-finals with a blistering 19.91 seconds, beating world gold medallist Noah Lyles, who had trailed him in the heat again.

The mark surpassed Bolt’s world U20 record from 2004 of 19.93 seconds and also bettered the world U18 best he had run three weeks earlier.

A day later Knighton punched his ticket to Tokyo 2020 with a third-place finish in the 200m in 19.84 seconds behind Lyles and Kenny Bednarek, again lowering the world U20 record.

“I did good. I’m on the team. I’m 17. I can’t complain with that,“ he said after becoming the first high schooler since 1972 to represent Team USA at the Olympics.

Knighton has his eye on Usain Bolt’s senior world record

The young American began his 2022 outdoor season with another quick one on April 30.

He ran the fourth-fastest men’s 200m ever at the LSU Invitational of 19.49, a new world U20 record. Only Bolt [19.19], Yohan Blake (19.26) and Michael Johnson (19.32) have run faster.

After improving the junior world records several times, he is now eyeing another of Bolt’s world bests – the 19.19 he ran at the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

“I just want to keep shaving down on my personal best,” he told NBC sport.

“I want the world record. But if it doesn’t come, I won’t be really bothered about it. I’ve still got 10 years left.” – Erriyon Knighton to NBC Sports.

Erriyon Knighton: “I want to be a world champion”

Knighton was outstanding in his first major competition in Tokyo, where he just missed the Olympic podium and became the youngest teen since Jim Ryun in 1964 to represent the United States.

He finished fourth in 19.93 seconds behind the Olympic champion Canadian Andre De Grasse, silver medallist Kenny Bednarek, and bronze winner Noah Lyles.

“In Tokyo, I was kinda upset that I had lost, but I just had to think about the big picture and the long run,” Knighton who is coached by Jonathan Terry told the BBC.

“I get called young every day, I am going to be 24 in 2028, that is in two more Olympics and still kind of young. I think about that all the time.

“As I grow older I am going to get stronger and faster. I am not the perfect 200m runner, I am still learning as I run it.”

He was the third American in that race behind Lyles and Bednarek, which puts him in a good position to punch his ticket to a home championship in Oregon.

“I want to be world champion, or I want to be on the podium,” he said.

Sprint start is still a high schooler

Knighton remains focused on his studies at Hillsborough High School in Tampa.

The sprinter took a break from class when he turned pro with Adidas but is now expected to graduate later this spring.

“There were a lot of people wanting to take pictures with me at the start of the school year. I think I signed an autograph actually, it got that chaotic,” he recalled of his early days back in school.

“It has calmed down now. Now everyone just walks past me just like, ‘Hey, Erriyon’. In other schools in the area, people say to my classmates ‘you go to school with Erriyon’, but for people in my school they see me every day, so it ain’t nothing.”

Source: olympics.com

Athing Mu dominates the Athlete of the Year Awards

Tokyo Olympic Games 800m champion, Athing Mu has dominated the 2021 Wing Awards and Athlete of the Year Awards that will be held at the 2021 Night of Legends on Saturday, December 4 in Orlando, Florida.

The voting has now been opened for fans to choose their favorite athlete of the year and the best performer with the Jesse Owens, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Wing Awards.

USATF will present all awards as part of the Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida The event will also include the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame class of 2021 induction ceremony.

The awards have been presented annually since 1981; the Jesse Owens Award and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Award are USA Track & Field highest accolades.  This is United States highest award for the sport, it bears Jesse Owens’s name in recognition of his significant career, which included four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games.

The winners will be selected by the fans and media by voting to choose their most outstanding male and female athletes, winners are selected by a combination of fan and media votes.

The Wing Awards honor a variety of top performances, including Best Olympics Performance for Track as well as Field, and Breakout Performer.

Nominees are:

Female Athlete of the Year:

  1. Valarie Allman
  2. Allyson Fellix
  3. Sydney McLaughlin
  4. Athing Mu
  5. Katie Nageotte

Male Athlete of the Year:

  1. Kenny Bednarek
  2. Rai Benjamin
  3. Ryan Crouser
  4. Fred Kerley

Best Olympic Track Performance:

  1. Rai Benjamin
  2. Allyson Felix
  3. Sydney McLaughlin
  4. Athing Mu

Best Olympic Field Performance:

  1. Valarie Allman
  2. Ryan Crouser
  3. Katie Nageotte

Breakthrough Athlete of the Year:

  1. Courtney Freirichs
  2. JuVaughn Harrison
  3. Cole Hocker
  4. Fred Kerley
  5. Athing Mu
  6. Molly Seidel

Timothy Cheruiyot and Faith Kipyegon are the top ranked Africans in the latest world rankings

World Athletics devised a new global ranking system where athletes score points on a combination of result and place depending on the level of the competition in which the result is achieved. The ranking is based on an average score over a number of competitions over a period of time.

The African continent has managed to get two athletes who have been included in the overall ranking with two times Olympics gold medallist Faith Kipyegon ranked number four in women overall with

Timothy Cheruiyot who is the Olympic silver medallist ranked number nine.

Norways Karsten Warholm and Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands have been ranked as the top athletes in the world.

The rankings pre-Olympics actually help determined what athletes made up the final spots in Japan and were no doubt a reason why the qualifying standards were harder than normal to put a greater importance on the rankings system.

World Athletics has now updated the rankings taking into account the Olympic results on the rankings published on August 18 and then again a few days after the Eugene meeting a week later and they make interesting reading but to some still need a tinkering with.

Ironically the rankings are a better reflection of athletes abilities after Oregon than they were after the Olympics which suggests the organisation hasn’t quite got their priorities right.

When athletes win Olympic golds in the fastest time of the year such as Elaine Thompson-Herah at 100m, Athing Mu at 800m and Sydney McLaughlin and 400m hurdles they should be the world no.1 rather than a very consistent athlete with a better set of marks?

Overall men
while most attention has been on the ranking in individual events, there is an overall ranking and it’s no surprise that Karsten Warholm is now regarded as the top overall athlete from fellow Scandinavian Armand Duplantis. World shot record-breaker Ryan Crouser moved from fifth to third after Eugene moving ahead of Canadians Damian Warner and Andre de Grasse.

1 Karsten Warholm (NOR) 1539
2 Armand Duplantis (SWE) 1535
3 Ryan Crouser (USA) 1500
4 Andre de Grasse (CAN) 1491
5 Damian Warner (CAN) 1473
6 Alison Dos Santos (BRA) 1466
7 Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) 1465
8 Rai Benjamin (USA) 1463
9 Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN) 1444
10 Kenny Bednarek (USA) 1443

 Overall women
Thanks to her versatility from 1500m to 10,000m, Sifan Hassan is comfortably top woman from fellow double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah who has closed the gap significantly after her Eugene run. A recent world record-breaker Yulimar Rojas is not surprisingly third but it does not quite seem right and Femke Bol was fourth overall after the Olympics even though she was clearly only third best at her best event but she lost two places to Faith Kipyegon and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after their Eugene efforts with the Jamaican likely to move up further after her Lausanne win in next week’s rankings.

1 Sifan Hassan (NED) 1534
2 Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM) 1515
3 Yulimar Rojas (VEN) 1475
4 Faith Kipyegon (KEN) 1474
5 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) 1458
6 Femke Bol (NED) 1455
7 Katie Nageotte (USA) 1444
8 Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR) 1433
9 Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 1430
10 Hyvin Kiyeng (KEN) 1429

 

Olympic heroes return to Action in Eugene

The Olympic Games may be done and dusted, but the 2021 athletics season is far from over as some of the stars of Tokyo 2020 continue their Wanda Diamond League campaigns at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on August 21st.

The eighth meeting of the season will provide an immediate chance to settle some Olympic scores with a whole host of rematches on the track. Men’s 200m gold and silver medallists Andre De Grasse and Kenny Bednarek will go head to head again at Hayward Field, while Athyn Mu, Keely Hodgkinson and Raevyn Rogers make up an Olympic podium full house in the women’s 800m.

The same applies for the women’s 5000m, with reigning Diamond League champion and Olympic gold medallist Sifan Hassan taking on silver and bronze medallists Hellen Obiri and Gudaf Tsegay in the women’s race. All three 5000m medallists (Joshua Cheptegei, Moh Ahmed and Paul Chelimo) will also be in action in a star-studded men’s two-mile race in Eugene.

In the men’s shot put, the USA’s Ryan Crouser will be hoping to add a first career Diamond Trophy to his shiny new Olympic gold medal in the remaining months of the season. He will take on fellow medallists Joe Kovacs and Tom Walsh, who is looking to defend his Diamond League title this year.

Gold and bronze medallists Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Hugues Zango will reprise their men’s triple jump battle on the Diamond League stage, while there could also be a rematch between Olympic and Diamond League champion Mariya Lasitskene and bronze medallist Yaroslava Mahuchikh in the women’s triple jump.

Source: diamondleague.com