Erriyon Knighton for Oregon22

Erriyon Knighton achieved the fastest season opener in history on Saturday night at the Lievin, France, leg of the Tour Gold, clocking 20.21 seconds in his first-ever indoor competition.

“It definitely was different,” Knighton remarked afterward, reflecting on the new experience.

The fastest junior athlete ever in the outdoor version of this event, who just transitioned out of his junior status last month when he turned 20 years old on January 29th, is reminding track fans that he is also the fifth-fastest of any age group all-time outdoors, and now ranks as the 12th fastest ever indoors.

Erriyon Knighton: The New Face of Sprinting Shines Indoors

In Knighton’s heat, he immediately took a commanding lead out of the blocks, effectively eliminating the stagger against Frenchman Ryan Zeze (20.56) in lane 6, who finished second, by the backstretch. Blessing Afrifah finished third from another heat in 20.69.

Despite his remarkable performance, Knighton admitted that the unfamiliarity with the indoor environment presented some challenges to his form.

“I stumbled a little coming into the second curve; I fixed it, but it would have been better if I had just got that smidge right,” Knighton said.

“I now have something to work on.”

The young American has already achieved a great deal, reaching more Olympic and World Championship finals in his teens than most athletes do at any time in their careers. With the Paris Olympics on the horizon, he appears poised to continue his ascent in athletics.

“I’m ready for the Olympics,” he stated directly afterward to the meet media staff.

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