The Olympic Games for the longest time have been the sporting world’s grandest stage. Age is considered to be one of the most important factors in sports. Too young and it is supposed you are not experienced enough. Too old and it is just assumed that you no longer have the capacity to continue with high-level sporting activity.
But throughout a number of years, the Olympics have seen athletes set multiple records outside of their sporting performances, including defying age norms to prove one’s mettle. Here’s taking a look at the youngest and the oldest Olympic medallists ever.
The youngest Summer Olympics medallist ever: Marjorie Gestring
USA springboard diver, Marjorie Gestring won the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the 3m springboard event. She was 13 years and 268 days old at the time. Her phenomenal performance made her the youngest Summer Olympics gold medallist ever.
In the Olympic tryouts, Gestring had placed second behind Katherine Rawls. 13-year-old Gestring’s final dive won her the Olympic title with a winning score of 89.27. The multi-national diving champion’s victory in Berlin was considered to be upset given her competitors.
The subsequent 1940 Olympics were called off due to the advent of World War 2. However, following the cancellation of the Games, the United States Olympic Committee awarded Gestring with a second Olympic gold medal. She attempted to return to the 1948 London Games but couldn’t qualify for the US team.
Marjorie Gestring has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame. The iconic diver passed away at the age of 69 on April 20th, 1992 after an accident at her home in Hillsborough, California.
The oldest Summer Olympic medallist ever: Oscar Swahn
Swedish shooter, Oscar Swahn has multiple records to his name. He is the oldest Olympian, the oldest person to win an Olympic medal, and also the oldest person to win Olympic gold. Swahn had competed in three Olympic Games and had bagged 6 medals, 3 out of which were gold.
At the 1908 London Games, he clinched two gold medals in running deer single-shot events (individual and team) and a bronze at the running deer double-shot individual event. Swahn was 60 years old then, just a year younger than Joshua Millner, the oldest gold medallist of the time.
It was in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics that he created his first record. In his home country Sweden, the shooter won gold in the single-shot running deer team event and a bronze at the individual double-shot running deer event. Even though he came fourth in the individual single shot, the event was won by his son Alfred Swahn. At 64 years and 258 days, Oscar became the oldest Olympic gold medallist ever.
At the age of 72, the legendary shooter became the oldest Olympian ever at the 1920 Antwerp Games. In his third Olympics, he bagged the silver medal in the double shot running deer contest making him the oldest medallist of all time.
All the Swedish teams that Oscar Swahn competed within all of his three Olympic outings, he competed alongside his son Alfred Swahn. Oscar passed away at the age of 79 on May 1st, 1927 in Stockholm, Sweden.