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Oldest and Youngest Olympians (Summer Games)

Here are some of the 'Oldest and Youngest' competitors at the Summer Olympic Games. See also our list of the oldest living Olympians, and the Oldest and Youngest at the Winter Olympics.

Arthur von Pongracz of Austria also competed at age 72 in Dressage in 1936Arthur von Pongracz of Austria also competed at age 72 in Dressage in 1936

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

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

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 six medals in a shooting event 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. Another equestrian athlete, 66 years old Mary Hanna from Australia, became the second-oldest female Olympian when she competed at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

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 as part of the women's archery Team Round, though that 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 Sweden, 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 Male Competitor

The youngest documented Olympian is 10 year old Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras, but there may have been a younger competitor, the young boy of unknown age from Paris who was the substitute coxswain in the winning Dutch pair oars boat in the 1900 rowing event.

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 were 12 years and 99 days (Vercesi) and 12 years and 269 days old (Marangoni). The youngest ever medal winner in an individual Olympic Games event was Inge Sørensen of Denmark, who was 12 yrs, 21 days old when she won a bronze medal in the 200m Breaststroke in 1936. A recent young medallist was Japanese skateboarder Kokona Hiraki who was 12 years 243 days when she won silver in the women's park event in Tokyo 2020. Third in the same event was Sky Brown who was 13 years and 28 days old.

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. In 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics, the first female street skateboarding event was won by Momiji Nishiya of Japan, who was just 13 years 330 days, becoming the second youngest female gold medalist in an individual event.

Youngest Female Competitor

The youngest female competitor was the Italian gymnast Luigina Giavotti, who competed in 1928 aged 11 years 301 days.

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Olympics Extra

The next Olympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the Winter edition in Milan-Cortina 2026. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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