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22 Aug 2004
IOC News

From the youngest to the oldest

Merlene Ottey is participating for the seventh time at the Olympic Games. Some of her rivals were not even born when she competed for the first time in the Moscow Games in 1980, where she won the bronze medal. Is she holding the record in the category “most participations”?

Austrian sailor
Actually, this is not the case. The athlete that holds this record is an Austrian sailor. Hubert Raudaschl participated between 1964 (Tokyo) and 1996 (Atlanta) in nine editions of the Games.

72 years and 279 days
The factsheet “Records - facts and figures” provides interesting additional information on medal-winners and most participations. Did you know that the oldest known medallist was Sweden’s Oscar Swahn? This marksman won the silver medal in the 100m running deer at the 1920 Games in Antwerp at the age of 72 years and 279 days.

Sybil “Queenie” Newall
Sybil “Queenie” Newall holds this “title” in the woman’s category. At the age of 53 years and 277 days, she won the women’s archery event at the 1908 Games in London. At the same Games, Joshua Miller from Great Britain won the gold medal, aged 61 years and 4 days, in the three rifle prone event, which makes him the oldest male gold medallist in an individual event.

Name of youngest participant not known
The records for the youngest participants are no less amazing or interesting: IWN ST
On 26 August 1900, the Dutch coxed pairs rowing team needed a cox. A young French boy was chosen. After the tight victory of the Dutch team, the young French boy took part in the medal ceremony and was photographed. Despite years of research by many historians, they still do not know his name or age. Judging by the photo, this young boy is between 7 and 12.

…. or a Greek gymnast
If he is nearer 12, the youngest medallist is thus the Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras who, when he finished third in the team parallel bars at the 1896 Olympic Games, was 10 years and 218 days old. It so happens that the third place in this event in 1896 was also the last.

Youngest medallist to beat another competitor
So, the youngest medallist to have actually finished in front of another competitor was a young girl. Italian Luigina Giavotti won the silver medal in the team gymnastics event in 1928. She was 11 years and 302 days old.

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