TOKYO — Andre De Grasse won the men's 200-meter gold medal with a time of 19.62 seconds, edging Americans Kenny Bednarek (silver, 19.68) and Noah Lyles (bronze, 19.74).
Erriyon Knighton, the 17-year-old phenom, finished fourth in 19.93 seconds.
De Grasse has been one of the best sprinters in the world for several years. He came into Tokyo with three Olympic medals and four world championships medals, and won the bronze here in the 100m. But none of his medals were gold.
He stormed to a semis-best and national record 19.73, solidifying himself as one of the favorites.
De Grasse is the partner of American 100m hurdler Nia Ali, the 2019 world champion and Rio silver medalist.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 4, 2021
American Noah Lyles came to Tokyo as a certain medal contender. The 2019 gold medalist and one of the fastest men ever in the event, he did not look his best in the first two rounds, running 20.18 in the first round to win a slower heat. In the semifinal, each of the top three finishers were officially clocked in 19.99 in a photo finish, and was declared third; the top two finishers moved on to the final automatically, but Lyles got through on time.
Lyles was leading coming off the turn but started to pull back way too early, with about 40 meters to go, allowing the other two men to catch him. Thankfully he avoided disaster.
Bednarek felt overlooked despite earning a spot here. He's said that he believes his collegiate career at a junior college, Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, instead of a traditional NCAA power program means "I haven't really gotten the respect I deserve."
Incredibly, Knighton only took up sprinting three years ago, as a way to help him on the football field. But he immediately distinguished himself as special, and used the time last year with no meets due to COVID-19 to keep training and improving.
Knighton is the youngest American male Olympian on the track and field team since Jim Ryun in 1964. After his finish at the U.S. Trials, he decided to turn pro.
This story will be updated.
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