With a number of mind-blowing, medal-winning performances by young athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, many are wondering: How old do you have to be to compete in the Olympics?
Technically, the answer is that there is no such requirement.
According to the International Olympic Committee, “there is no specific age limit for participating in the Olympic Games”.
Rather, age restrictions depend on each international sports federation and the rules of each sport.
But for many, like skateboarding, which was among the youngest contenders at the Tokyo Games, no restrictions exist.
This explains why the ages of the competitors ranged from Kokona Hiraki, 12, the youngest Olympian in Japan, to Rune Glifberg, 46, the oldest skateboarder at the Tokyo Games.
In the Week 1 women’s street event, three young teenage girls – 13, 13 and 16 – won gold, silver and bronze.
In diving, however, the age limit is 14 to participate in the Olympic Games.
That restriction gave way to another teenage sensation, China’s Quan Hongchan, who managed two perfect dives in the women’s 10m platform en route to a historic gold medal. The 14-year-old scored seven 10s on two of his dives – a perfect score – and was 0.5 points away from making it a third time on his final dive en route to shattering the previous Olympic record.
The youngest athlete of the Tokyo Games is Hend Zaza, 12, Syrian table tennis player. She is the youngest Olympian since 1992, when Carlos Front, 11, competed for Spain in rowing and Judit Kiss, 12, competed in swimming for Hungary. Zaza is also the youngest table tennis Olympian in history. On her Olympic debut in Tokyo, Zaza was beaten by the Austrian Liu jia who, at 39, was more than three times the age of Zaza.
Tokyo 2020‘s oldest competitor is 66-year-old Australian rider Marie hanna, who said she was already looking forward to the 2024 Games in Paris, which would be her seventh Olympics.
âI don’t know what else to do with myself,â she said. “I’ve been doing this for so long now. Listen, horseback riding is one of those amazing sports where you can do it regardless of your age, or your gender.”
Facts about ages at the Tokyo Olympics:
- The youngest member of Team USA is a 15-year-old swimmer Katie grimes; the oldest is equestrian Philippe Dutton, 57.
- At 44, Abdi Abdirahman is the oldest runner to ever be on an American Olympic track and field team. He will participate in the marathon on Sunday. Abdirahman is a four Olympic Games veteran. He was born in Somalia and became a US citizen in 2000.
- from China Lyu Xiaojun, 37, became the oldest man to win an Olympic gold medal in weightlifting when he won the 81kg title
- Greysia Polii, 33, is the oldest athlete to win a gold medal in badminton.
- At 62, the Australian Andrew Hoy became the oldest Olympic medalist in his country with a silver medal in the individual eventing and a bronze medal in the team eventing. Hoy who competed in his first Olympics in 1984 and won team gold in 1992. When asked if it was the experience that led his team to the podium, Hoy responded with a smile. : “I think it’s age.”