Former NCAA champ Justyn Knight wants to double at the Tokyo Olympics

After missing the Olympic qualifying standard in the 1,500m by only 85 one-hundredths of a second at the USATF Grand Prix in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, Canada’s Justyn Knight told CBC News that he is open to the possibility of running both the 1,500m and the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics, should he achieve standard in the event. His time of 3:35.85 was a personal best, but the 24-year-old says he knows he can do better.

“I wasn’t pleased with the time I ran,” he told the CBC. “I know I’m better than that, but I felt good.”

We tend to agree with the Markham, Ont., native, considering the conditions on Saturday were windy and rainy, far from ideal for a track race. On top of that, the young athlete explained that he hadn’t done any speed training leading up to this race, so he didn’t have his usual finishing kick we’ve come to associate him with.

"The last 400, I wasn’t able to accelerate the way I usually would,” said Knight. “It’s just embarrassing how the race got away from me with a lap to go.”

Knight holds the Canadian record for the indoor 1,500m with a personal best of 3:36.13, but isn’t sure he’ll have another opportunity to run the outdoor standard before the Games. Instead, he said he will now be shifting his focus to the May 23 Diamond League season opener in Gateshead, U.K., where he’ll be racing in his first 5,000m of the outdoor season.

He fell just 1.36 seconds short of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but this year he has already achieved standard in the event when he ran his PB of 13:09.76 in June 2019, and so it will be his main priority heading toward Tokyo. Still, he said doubling is “definitely something to consider” if he got standard in the 1,500.

“Right now, I am just focused on having a good season.”

posted Thursday April 29th
by Brittany Hambleton