Winter Olympics 2018: Teenage Athletes

Sharia Williamson, Senior Editor

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Every four years, the best athletes from all over the world gather to compete in the Olympic Games. These athletes have talents thy an average person could not even imagine having. Thinking that an adult can push their bodies to the extremes for the Olympics is crazy, but what about all of the young people who are competing in the biggest sports competition, worldwide?

Since the very first Olympic Games in 1896, teenagers have been training to make their debut in their first Olympic game. For example, Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras, the youngest male medalist in the history of the Olympics, who was only 10-years-old when he competed. The youngest female medalist, Luigina Giavotti, was only 11 when she competed as a gymnast with her two teammates who were both only 12.

Loundras, Giavotti and many others have made Olympic history by competing at such a young age, but in 1996, age regulations were implemented. They stated that an athlete needs to be 16, or be turning 16 in the next calendar year, in order to compete. However, these rules have not stopped teenagers from showcasing their skills and medaling for their teams. There are still many cases in which even the youngest olympians can hold their own next to their older opponents who range from ages 20 to 51.

This year, during the 2018 Winter Olympics, the ten youngest olympians are all 16 and under. Most 16 year olds can’t even do something as simple as pass their driving tests, while these teens are winning gold medals at the Olympics.

15-year-old Wu Meng, who competes in freestyle skiing for China, did not medal, but she does own the title of being the youngest competitor in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which is a win all on its own.

During the women’s snowboarding halfpipe, which took place on February 13; 17-year-old Chloe Kim became the youngest female to win gold for the United States in her sport.

Red Gerard, a 17-year-old, took home gold in men’s snowboard slopestyle. He competed against eleven other competitors and was able to win the United States their first gold medal of 2018 Olympic Games.

Not only do these teenagers win medals, but they are also breaking records. Evgenia Medvedeva, an 18-year-old Russian ice skater and two time world championship winner, broke her own record from the previous year during her performance. Medvedeva scored an 81.61 only to have 15-year-old, Alina Zagitova, a current ice skating prodigy, to score a 82.92 and break the new record only minutes after it was placed.

Meng, Kim, Gerard, Medvedeva, and Zagitova are only a few of the many young olympians who have made history. These five people are prodigies and they are only a small number of athletes at the Olympic games, who have proved age has nothing on skill. So for all of the young athletes out there who want to try and make it big, push yourself to the limit and you will succeed.

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