Oldest and Youngest Olympians (Summer Games)
Oldest Male Competitor
The oldest ever Olympian is Oscar Swahn of Sweden. He was 72 years, 281 days old when he competed at the 1920 Olympics in shooting. He also qualified for the 1924 Olympics but withdrew without competing.
other old competitors
- Arthur von Pongracz of Austria also competed at age 72 in Dressage in 1936, becoming one of the oldest ever competitors at the Olympics. Arthur von Pongracz was born June 25, 1864 and competed on August 12 and 13, 1936, so he was 72 years and 49 days old.
- Equestrian rider Hiroshi Hoketsu is the oldest Japanese Olympic representative, competing in 2012 at age 71. In 2012 he finished 40th in the individual dressage event. Hoketsu first took part in the Olympics in 1964, qualified in 1988 (but did not compete as his horse was quarantined), and also competed in 2008.
- Louis, Count du Douet de Graville (69 years, 95 days) competed in Equestrian at the 1900 Olympics. He was born February 27, 1831, and competed on June 2, 1900.
- If you include the art competitions (and some people do) and deceased people, then the oldest Olympic participant may be USA artist Winslow Homer who was a participant in the painting category at the 1932 Summer Games. He actually died in 1910, but if he was still alive he would have been 96 years, 157 days old when he competed. He was listed as "hors concours", by one definition means engaged in a contest but not competing for a prize.
Oldest Male Gold Medalist
Oscar Swahn won a gold medal for shooting at the 1912 Olympics, when he was 64 years and 280 days old. At the time of his win, Swahn was 9 months older than Galen Spencer had been when he won his gold medal in 1904.
Other old gold medalists
- Galen Carter Spencer was an American who competed in archery at the 1904 Summer Olympics. He won the gold medal in the team competition. He was born September 19, 1840, and competed on September 19, 1904, which means he competed on his 64th birthday.
- Jerry Millner (born July 5, 1847) was a British shooter who represented Great Britain and Ireland at the 1908 Summer Olympics. He won a gold medal in the Free rifle at 1000 yards. At the time he was 61 years and 4 days old.
Oldest Male Medalist
The oldest male Olympic medalist is genarally considered to be Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn. He won a silver medal in 1920 when he was 72 years, 281 days old. Overall Swahn won 6 medals in a shooting sport called "running deer." in appearances at the 1908, 1912, and 1920 Games. However, there is an older medalist from the little known art competitions that ran from 1912 to 1948. In the final year that these events were held, British graphic artist John Copley was awarded the silver medal for his design "Polo Player" just about a month before his 74th birthday. This makes him officially the oldest Olympic medalists ever.
Oldest Female Competitor
The oldest woman to compete in the Olympics was British rider Lorna Johnstone, who participated in Equestrian at the 1972 Olympic Games at 70 years and 5 days old.
Oldest Female Medalist
Lida Peyton "Eliza" Pollock from the USA competed in the 1904 Olympic Games archery competition. She won bronze in the Women's Double Columbia and National Rounds and as part of the women's Team Round she won a gold medal. She was aged 63 years and 333 days when she won gold.
Oldest Female Gold Medalist
Lida Peyton "Eliza" Pollock won gold aged 63 years and 333 days, though as part of a team event. The oldest woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event was British archery winner Sybil “Queenie” Newall who won gold in the Double National Round in 1908, aged 53 years, 275 days.
Youngest Male Medalists
If you discount the young coxain who won gold in 1900, the youngest confirmed Olympic medalist is Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras (born on September 4, 1885), who competed in the 1896 Athens Olympics. He was only 10 years old. He received a bronze medal in a team event (on 9 April 1896) at 10 years 218 days. The youngest male medalist in an individual event was Nils Skoglund of Denmark, who finished second in the High Diving, 1920 at age 14 yrs, 11 days.
Youngest Male Gold Medalist
There is speculation that a young boy from Paris was coxswain in the winning Dutch pair oars boat in the 1900 rowing event. Before they raced in the Final, their regular coxswain Hermanus Brockmann was determined to be too heavy at 60kg, so he was replaced by this boy. The boy's name or age has never been determined. Only a photograph exists, showing him with his two oarsmen Françoise Brandt and Roelof Klein - he may have been as young as seven. It is not sure which of the coxswain was given the Gold medal. The youngest confirmed male gold medalist is the German Klaus Zerta who was 13 years, 283 days when he competed as the coxain in the Men's Coxed Pairs, in 1960. The youngest male gold medalist in an individual event was Kusuo Kitamura of Japan, who won the 1500-m Freestyle swimming event in 1932 aged 14 yrs, 309 days.
Youngest Female Medalist
There were three young Italian gymnasts Luigina Giavotti, Ines Vercesi and Carla Marangoni, who competed in 1928 in the women's team allround event, winning a silver medal. Luigina Giavotti was just 11 years and 301 days old, the others 12 years and 99 days (Vercesi) and 12 years and 269 days (Marangoni). The youngest ever winner in an individual Olympic Games event was Inge Sørensen of Denmark, who was 12 yrs, 24 days old when she won a bronze medal in the 200m Breaststroke in 1936.
Youngest Female Gold Medalist
USA swimmer Donna Elizabeth de Varona competed in the relay heats for the 4x100m freestyle at the 1960 Olympics, and was presented with a gold medal. She was just 13 years and 129 days old. The youngest to actually compete for the medal, and in an individual event, was Marjorie Gestring of the USA who won the 3-meter Springboard Diving event in 1936 aged 13 years, 268 days.