Every Olympian is a source of inspiration. It’s quite impressive for anybody to be so amazing at a sport that they can represent their country on a world stage.
What’s especially impressive, however, is the Olympians who are breaking records because of their skills and their ages.
Athletic teams are usually dominated by folks who are old enough to have garnered experience in their sport, but young enough to be able to handle the physical exertion it requires of them. But the eight super-athletes on this list prove that it doesn’t matter how young or how old you are: Anyone can be an Olympian.
Check out these inspiring Olympians who are the youngest and oldest athletes at the games this year.
Evy Leibfarth of Bryson City, North Carolina, is a superstar in the canoeing and kayaking world. She is also one of the youngest Olympians to participate in this summer’s games.
Evy qualified for her first slalom senior national team in women’s K-1 and C-1 at the age of 15. Just two years later, she’s representing the United States in her first-ever Olympics!
Katie Grimes is a 15-year-old swimming champion representing the United States in the Olympics. This year, she is the youngest American of 613 athletes to compete in the games.
The Las Vegas native finished second behind the legendary Katie Ledecky at the Olympic trials last month. Luckily, Grimes and Ledecky are teammates, not rivals, at the Tokyo Games!
Sky Brown of Great Britain has a name tailor-made for a high-flying skateboard champion. At only 13 years old, she is competing in the Summer Olympics as the youngest British Olympian ever.
Most impressive is the fact that Sky has never had a steady skateboarding coach; she’s taught herself everything she knows by watching YouTube videos.
Hend Zaza is the youngest athlete at this year’s Olympics. She is representing her home country of Syria in table tennis. When she was only 11, she qualified for Tokyo after beating Lebanon’s Mariana Sahakian, who is 43 years old.
After this year’s games are over, Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan will have competed as a gymnast in eight different Olympic competitions.
She is the oldest Olympic gymnast in history, and she has been vocal about making this her final summer in the games. She received a standing ovation this week as she performed her final vaults ever for the roaring crowd.
About 33 years ago, Nino Salukvadze of Georgia (pictured right) was a 19-year-old Olympian representing the Soviet Union in shooting. Today, her 2021 Olympic run makes her the first woman to compete in nine Olympic Games.
The 52-year-old’s son, Tsotne Machavariani, is also an Olympic-qualified shooter.
One of 12-year-old Hend Zaza’s table tennis competitors is Ni Xialian, who is 58. Xialian of Luxembourg won her first gold medals at the World Table Tennis Championships when she was about 20 years old.
Now, she is making history as the oldest Olympian to compete in table tennis.
This summer marks equestrian Mary Hanna’s sixth Olympic run. The Australian is the second-oldest female Olympian in history, right behind Lorna Johnstone of Great Britain, who competed in 1968 and 1972. Lorna Johnstone was also competing in equestrianism.