A 12-year-old track star has become a social media sensation after ESPN shared a training session of the young athlete on TikTok.
Jaiya Patillo is a nine-time junior Olympian. One of her trainers, Skyy Simmons, recorded her running 17 mph on a treadmill. ESPN posted the clip to its TikTok where it earned over 42.8 million views in three days.
“It was a normal day going of practice, except this time running at a new training facility,” Jaiya told In The Know. “It was my first time there and my coach had me running on a treadmill. We started at 12 or 13 mph and we had planned to stop at 15, but he said it looked like I was just jogging so he wanted to speed it a little more to 17 mph.”
Jaiya is a 200 and 400 meter sprinter from Petersburg, Va. According to Simmons, Jaiya has “already ran 58 in the 400 and 26 in the 200.” Her father, Kevin Patillo, noticed her abilities when she was a toddler and has supported her running since.
While the impressive athlete has plenty of medals and accolades already, she seems to be enjoying her newfound internet fame.
“The views were growing nonstop! It started at 2 million — next time I checked it was 8 million and ever since then it kept on going up,” Jaiya said. “It was insane, by the time I woke up it had already made it to 19 million views and now is at 42.7 million and still seems to be going! I appreciate all the support so much and just still can’t believe it. I have always loved to run and am so excited about where this will take me, as I plan to be in the 2024 Olympics!”
If you found this story insightful, read about the Paralympic medalist who coached a toddler’s first walk with a prosthetic leg.
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