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I first heard about Erriyon Knighton during the 2021 high school season. There were rumblings about this kid in Florida. By the Olympic trials later that year, he was breaking records left and right. He made you pay attention, whether you wanted to or not. But what’s more unprecedented than his times is that he’s consistently been there at the very top. Making the U.S. team as a teenager is just very, very impressive. What’s unique about athletes like Usain Bolt and Serena Williams is not just that they, at a very young age, had incredible talent and focus and attention. It’s that they were able to handle that pressure, and perform consistently despite it. It’s very easy to get caught up and end up not focused, particularly when you’re young. When he ran that 19.49-sec. 200-m this spring—making him faster than Bolt was at his age—a few of us jumped in, saying: “And now he’s got history first period tomorrow, followed by science class.” The type of talent that he has is a very, very rare talent. I’d love to see him continue to succeed, and so far he’s shown that he’s up for the challenge.

Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold medalist in track and field

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