Oldest and Youngest Olympians (Winter Games) - 2022 Update

Here are some of the 'Oldest and Youngest' competitors at the Winter Olympic Games (see also the oldest and youngest at the Summer Olympics). Some sports are limited by minimum age requirements, e.g. in bobsled the minimum age is 14, figure skating it is 15 and luge 16 years and for the biathlon, the minimum age is 22. See more Winter Olympic Trivia.



Table of Oldest Winter Olympians

category age name nationality sport year
Oldest male gold medalist (team) 54 yrs 102 days Robin Welsh Great Britain curling 1924
Oldest male gold medalist (individual) 40 years 12 days Ole Einar Bjørndalen Norway biathlon 10km sprint 2014
Oldest male medalist (team) 58 yrs 158 days Carl August Kronlund Sweden curling 1924
Oldest male medalist (individual) 44 yrs 185 days Geoffrey Hall-Say Great Britain figure skating 1908
Oldest male competitor 58 yrs 155 days Carl August Kronlund Sweden curling 1924
Oldest female gold medalist (team) 43 yrs 106 days Anette Norberg Sweden curling 2010
Oldest female gold medalist (individual) 37 years 341 days Marit Bjørgen Norway 30km x-country skiing 2018
Oldest female medalist (team) 46 years 82 days Carolyn Darbyshire-McRory Canada curling 2010
Oldest female medalist (individual) 41 years 100 days Hilde Gjermundshaug Pedersen Norway 10km x-country skiing 2006
Oldest female competitor 49 years 362 days Claudia Pechstein Germany speed skating 2022

Table of Youngest Winter Olympians

category age name nationality sport year
Youngest male gold medalist (individual event) 16 yrs 259 days Toni Nieminen USA ski jumping 1992
Youngest male gold medalist (team event) 16 yrs 259 days Billy Fiske USA bobsled 1928
Youngest male medalist 14 yrs 360 days Scotty Allen USA figure skating 1964
Youngest male competitor 12 years 111 days Jan Hoffmann Germany Figure skating 1968
Youngest female gold medalist (team) 13 yrs 83 days Kim Yun-Mi Korea short track speed skating 1994
Youngest female gold medalist (individual) 15 yrs 253 days Tara Lipinski USA figure skating 1998
Youngest female medalist (team) 13 yrs 83 days Kim Yun-Mi Korea short track speed skating 1994
Youngest female medalist (individual) 15 yrs 69 days Andrea Mitscherlich East Germany speed skating 1976
Youngest female competitor 11 yrs 73 days Cecilia Colledge Great Britain figure skating 1932

Oldest Male Gold Medalist

The oldest ever male gold medalist at the Winter Olympics is Robin Welsh from Great Britain who won gold in curling at the 1924 Games, aged 54 years and 101 days.

In an individual event, the oldest winner is the Norwegian Ole Einar Bjørndalen who won gold at the 10 km biathlon sprint aged 40 at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Oldest Male Competitor and Medalist

The oldest ever medal winner, and also the oldest ever participant at the Winter Games, is Sweden's Carl August Kronlund, who won silver in the 1924 Olympics in the curling event, aged 58 years, 158 days. Special mention also to Argentinian Matiás Stinnes who was entered in the luge at age 57 years, 229 days in 1968. He withdrew from the Games before the competition began, though his name appears on the entry lists. He did compete in 1964 aged 53. In 2014, Mexican alpine skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe became the second oldest Winter Olympian ever, at age 55 years. He was also aiming to become the oldest Winter Olympian of all time in 2018, but he did not make the team.

The oldest male medalist in an individual event is George Hall-Say of Great Britain, a bronze medalist in figure skating at the 1908 Games, aged 44 years and 176 days old. He only just surpasses Norwegian figure skater Martin Stixrud, the bronze medalist at the 1920 Games aged 44 years and 77 days.

The oldest man to receive a Winter Olympics medal is 83-year-old Anders Haugen. The Norwegian-American actually received his ski jump bronze medal 50 years after he competed in 1924 when a scoring error was discovered in 1974.

Oldest Female Gold Medalist

The oldest female gold medalist at the Winter Olympics is Swedish curler Anette Norberg won gold in 2010 in the women's team event aged 43 years and 106 days.

In an individual event, Norwegian Marit Bjørgen won the 30km cross-country skiing event in 2018, aged 37 years 341 days. This surpassed the record by German Sylke Otto who won gold in the luge in 2006, aged 36 years and 222 days.

Oldest Female Medalist

Carolyn Darbyshire-McRory of Canada won a silver medal in the curling tournament in 2010, aged 46 years 82 days. In an individual event, Hilde Pedersen of Norway won bronze in the 10 km cross-country skiing at the 2006 Games, aged 41 years 100 days.

Oldest Female Competitor

The oldest female to compete at the Winter Olympics is Claudia Pechstein in 2022. She was competing in her 8th Winter Olympics, aged 49 years 362 days when she competed in the mass start speed skating event. The race was held three days before her 50th birthday.

Prior to that, the oldest was Anne Abernathy of the United States Virgin Islands, who was 48 years and 308 days when she competed in the Luge at the 2002 Olympics. Abernathy also qualified for the 2006 Olympics four years later but during practice Abernathy crashed and broke her wrist and scapula, and was forced to withdraw from the competition.

This record was technically beaten in 2018 when 51-year-old curler Cheryl Bernard from Canada was named as the alternate on her team but did not compete. Interestingly, if her team had won a medal, she would have still received a medal and would have become the oldest Winter Olympic medalist (but not a competitor!).

Youngest Male Competitor

Figure skater Jan Hoffmann from Germany was just 12 years 111 days old in 1968. Another figure skater Alain Giletti from France, was not far behind, aged just 12 years, 161 days when he competed in 1952.

Youngest Male Medalists

The youngest-ever male medalist at the Winter Olympics is Scotty Allen of the US who won bronze in figure skating in 1964, aged 14 years and 360 days. More recently, Japanese snowboard half-pipe competitor Ayumu Hirano was on 15 years 74 days old in 2014.

Youngest Male Gold Medalist

At the 1992 Winter Olympics, Finnish ski jumper Toni Nieminen made history by becoming the youngest male Winter Olympic champion, winning gold at 16 years 259 days. This matched the age of Billy Fiske when he won gold as part of the US bobsled team in 1928.

Youngest Female Gold Medalist

At the 1928 Games Sonja Henie (born April 8, 1912) of Norway made history when she won the figure skating competition at the age of 15. At the time she became the youngest Olympic champion in history, a distinction she would hold for 66 years.

At the 1994 Winter Olympics, Korean Kim Yun-Mi became the youngest Olympic champion at the Winter Games when she won gold in the women's 3000m relay in short track speed skating. She was 13 years, 83 days years old. She was part of a team in the relay event.

Sonja Henie's record as the youngest winner in an individual event was not broken until Nagano 1998, when 15-year-old American figure skater Tara Lipinski (15 years, 253 days old, born June 10, 1982) won gold to become the youngest female gold medalist in an individual event.

On 9 February 2014, Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya (15 years, 249 days old, born 5 June 1998) won gold in the team event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and was six days younger than Tara Lipinski but not younger than Kim Yun-Mi who is still the youngest-ever gold medalist.

Youngest Female Medalist

Kim Yun-Mi holds the record for the youngest medalist ever, male or female, at the Winter Olympics. She was 13 years, 83 days years old. She was part of a team in the women's 3000m relay in short track speed skating in 1994.

The youngest female medalist in an individual event, East German Andrea Mitscherlich came second in the 3,000m speed skating, at the 1976 Games, aged 15 years and 69 days.

Youngest Female Competitor - Cecilia Colledge

Cecilia Colledge of Great Britain was 11 years, 73 days old when she competed in ladies singles figure skating at the 1932 Winter Games in Lake Placid. She finished 8th. She came back four years later to the 1936 Winter Games and won a silver medal.

Also in 1932, a teammate of Colledge was Megan Taylor, who was only a month older, 11 years 107 days.

Other notable young competitors include Sonja Henie of Norway, who was 11 years, 295 days old when she competed in the 1924 Winter Olympics. She finished last in a field of eight in women's figure skating. She went on to win the event in the next three Winter Olympics.

Other young participants are Chinese ice dancer Liu Luyang who was 11 years, 256 days old in 1988, and in 1968 Romanian figure skater Beatrice Huştiu was 11 years, 159 days when she competed, and South African Marcelle Matthews who was 11 years, 306 days old in 1960.

 

note: For determining the oldest athlete, the age is based on the day an event started (which may not always have been the day that athlete competed)

Sources: original data extracted from Olympedia, then supplemented with news articles online.



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