Top 10 Most Impressive AAU Junior Olympics Performances

* Athing Mu won the 15-16 girls 400m, 800m and 1,500m at the 2018 AAU Junior Olympic Games to make for one of the most impressive performances in the meet's history.

Photo Credit: Lindsey Andrews/MileSplit


The AAU Junior Olympic Games has produced quite a slew of top performances over the years, from record-breaking marks to impressive campaigns across multiple events.

Many AAU athletes have gone on to become top collegians, pros and Olympians in their respective events. Which talented athletes that have participated in past Junior Olympic Games had the most impressive showings?

Scroll below to learn more about the top 10 most stunning AAU Junior Olympics performances from the meet's long-running history.

2007: Robert Griffin III, Copperas Cove (TX)

Performance: 13.46 in the 110mH, 49.56 in the 400mH

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Before he excelled on the football field for the Baylor Bears and later in the NFL, Griffin made a name for himself on the track.

His completion of the hurdle double at the 2007 AAU Junior Olympics turned heads and solidified his place as one of the best hurdlers to ever compete at the AAU level.

13.46 for the 110mH into a headwind and a time of 49.56 in the 400mH rank at the top of the all-time Junior Olympic performance lists. The stellar races earned him two dominant events wins and 17-18 age group AAU national records that still stand today.

2012: Shawn Barber, Kingwood Park (TX)

Performance: 18-3.5 clearance for a win and national record in the 17-18 Boys Pole Vault

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Competing at his final AAU Junior Olympic Games in 2012, Barber ended his youth career on a rather high note.

The stellar pole vaulter from Kingwood Park (TX) not only ended his AAU career on top with a title win in the event, but did so with a sensational new personal best of 18-3.5, smashing his previous outdoor PR by nearly a foot and setting a new 17-18-year-old national record.

No other junior athlete to compete at the AAU Junior Olympics has ever come close to that mark set by Barber in 2012. The closest came in 2015 when Tristan Slater of Capitol (WV) cleared a height of 16-4.75.

2017: Gabriel Oladipo, Ford Bend Hightower (TX)

Performance: 73-8.75 in the 17-18 Boys Shot Put and 210-4 in the Discus for two event wins and national records

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Two national record-breaking performances from Oladipo made for one of the most impressive showings by a thrower in the history of the AAU Junior Olympics.

It began with a 73-8.75 winning mark in the shot put to open up the games, which broke the 17-18-year-old national record. A few days later, Oladipo had himself another record-setting throw, this time in his premiere discus event. The Fort Bend Hightower (TX) star launched the discus 210-4 to surpass the previous record of 202-7 that stood for over 20 years.

A pair of national records and event wins made for a fitting way to cap off the junior career for the future collegiate thrower.

2017: Tamari Davis, Oak Hall (FL)

Performance: 14-year-old Girls age group national record in the 100m (11.48); AAU Junior Olympic meet record in the 200m (23.26)

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The 14-year-old from Gainesville, Fla. didn't wait until the finals to begin chasing records as one of the top middle school talents at the games.

Davis clocked times of 11.48 and 23.26 in the 100m and 200m preliminary rounds to set new all-time marks for her age group. 

She followed up her prelim performances with wins in both short sprint events, running 11.48w and 23.65 for the 100m and 200m 14-year-old Junior Olympic titles.

2018: Brandon Miller, John Burroughs (TX)

Performance: 15-16 Boys 1,500m national record (3:58.10); first place in the 800m (1:50.14)

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Miller added to his legendary AAU junior career with one of his most impressive showings to date at the 2018 AAU Junior Olympic Games.

In perhaps Miller's premiere event at the time -- the 1,500m -- he raced to a time of 3:58.10 to win and smash the previous record of 3:59.20 held for 38 years by Jim Jennings.

It also made for Miller's sixth-straight national title at the 1,500m distance.

And Miller's streak of excellence didn't end there. He went on to win the 800m title in 1:50.14, just off of his own 15-16-year-old age group record of 1:49.87 set the previous year.

2018: Athing Mu (NJ)

Performance: First place in the 15-16 Girls 400m (52.83), 800m (2:07.54) and 1,500m (4:38.78); second in the 200m (24.07)

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She's now one of the most notable faces of USA track and field, and in 2017, Mu held the same reputation as an AAU athlete.

At the 2017 AAU Junior Olympic Games, she looked to accomplish quite possibly the most challenging quadruple, attempting to win gold in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m.

Mu fell just short of her mind-boggling goal. She came away with wins at the greater distances, but finished second in the 200m.

Needless to say, to come away with three titles and a second-place finish at the AAU Junior Olympics made for one of the most impressive individual performances of all time.

2019: Michaela Rose, Landry Academy (VA)

Performance: AAU Junior Olympic record in the 800m (2:05.53) and fourth-fastest all-time meet performance in the 400mH (58.16)

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The middle distance star from Virginia had been known for her specialty talent at the 800m.

But Rose's prep coaches thought her speed and endurance skill set might help her excel in another event -- the 400mH.

In her debut competing in both events at the 2019 AAU Junior Olympics, Rose came away with two all-time performances. 2:05.53 for the win in the 15-16 Girls 800m made for the fastest time ever run at the Junior Olympics. Rose then made it look easy in the 400mH final with a winning time of 58.16, which ranks fourth all-time in AAU Junior Olympic history.

That's quite an unheard of double, and Rose owned it with winning poise.

2019: Cha'iel Johnson, St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)

Performance: Sweep of the 400m (54.28), 800m (2:09.38) and 1,500m (4:42.58) 14-year-old Girls titles

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Johnson may be known as the daughter of former NFL star Chad Johnson, but she certainly left her own impressive mark at the 2019 AAU Junior Olympics.

She completed the difficult distance triple -- the 400m, 800m and 1,500m -- in winning fashion, to the thrill of fans watching on in Greensboro, N.C.

It began with a riveting battle in the 1,500m that saw Johnson earn the win just .48 seconds ahead of competitor Krianne McBride, followed by a 2:09.38 800m performance a few days later. Johnson then ran a 54.28 400m personal best to cap off her Junior Olympics campaign and head home with three championships under her belt.

2020: Erriyon Knighton, Hillsborough (FL)

Performance: 20.33 for a new national record in the 15-16 Boys 200m

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The young star from Florida showed the AAU community the top-notch potential he possessed in the sprint events, and he did so in record-setting fashion.

Knighton made a 20.33 200m performance look smooth and easy at the 2020 AAU Junior Olympic Games to come away with both a national title and 16-year-old boys age group record. It also made for the top 200m performance ever by a high school sophomore.

Knighton was just two-tenths of a second away from Usain Bolt's 20.13 World U20 record set in 2013.

Soon after, Knighton went the professional route and chose to forego his remaining high school eligibility. But the 2020 AAU Junior Olympics served as a catalyst for more impressive moments to come for the young sprint sensation.

2021: Kaila Jackson, Detroit Renaissance (MI)

Performance: AAU Junior Olympic records in the 100m (11.51) and 200m (23.01)

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The high school talent from Detroit, Mich. entered the 2021 AAU Junior Olympic Games with her eyes set on the top prize -- breaking records.

It started with the 17-18 Girls 200m prelims where she clocked 23.01 en route to a new meet record and a position in the finals later in the week. Then came the 100m semifinals, which she dominated in 11.51 to surpass the previous Junior Olympic record of 11.3h.

Jackson would go on to equal her 100m semifinal time in the finals for the title win, as well as earn the 200m gold in 23.34.