Kenny Bednarek

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Kenneth Bednarek (born October 14, 1998 in Oklahoma), is an American track and field sprinter. On May 17, 2019, running as a freshman for Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa at the age of 20, he ran the fourth fastest 200 meters of all time, under any conditions, running 19.49 at altitude with an exceptionally strong 6.1 mps aiding wind in the semi-finals of the NJCAA National Championships in Hobbs, New Mexico. The following day, Bednarek backed up his freak race by running 19.82 into a -0.8 headwind and running a 44.73 400 meters on the same day. 19.82 displaced Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith's former world record for the #30 fastest legal race of all time. Six men have run faster into a negative wind, but -0.8 is the strongest hindering wind against any athlete to break 19.95.[1]

Only one other person, Botswanan Isaac Makwala, has ever run sub-20 and sub-45 in the same day. Makwala was 28 when he did that in Madrid on July 6, 2014, making Bednarek the youngest and only American athlete to pull off the feat.[2][3]

Kenny and his fraternal twin brother Ian were adopted and moved to the cold of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Both brothers took to running youth track starting in the second grade. Running for Rice Lake High School, Kenny won seven individual State titles and led his team to a 4x400 relay championship. His 20.43 was the number one high school time in the nation in 2018. He also played football at Rice Lake, scoring 3 touchdowns as a wide receiver his senior year.[4] Earlier in 2019, Bednarek ran the fastest indoor 200m in the USA, the #2 time in the world for the indoor season and ranks him tied as the #13 individual on the all time indoor list.[5]

For his achievement, Bednarek was named the "USATF Athlete of the Week" on May 22, 2019.[6]


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