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These athletes won the coveted medal when they were extremely young.
The Olympic Games are for both the young and the old. There is a lack of age limit which does not restrict a competitor from participating and representing their country at the Olympics. In the history of the multi-sport event, there have been several extremely young Gold medallists.
The following athletes are icons of their sport and the Games in general. It is a sensational feat to win not just any medal, but a gold medal. However, to do it even before one is an adult is something marvelous.
Looking back at the history of the Summer Olympics, there were plenty of young prodigies who won gold medals for their respective countries. Let’s take a look at the five youngest competitors who won a gold medal and scripted history.
5. Nadia Comaneci – 14 years old
Nadia Comaneci is from Romania and is a five time Olympic gold medallist. She is a retired gymnast and one of the youngest to win the coveted medal. In 1976, she became the first gymnast to receive a perfect score of 10.
She was merely 14 years old when she secured the Gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Interestingly, back then, a gymnast had to be 14 to participate but later the age limit went up to 16 years. Therefore, Nadia’s record cannot be broken.
4. Fu Mingxia – 13 years and 345 days
Chinese female diver Fu Mingxia is popular for being one of the youngest Olympic diving champions. She won a Gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona when she was just 13 years and 345 days old. Fu Mingxia dominated the sport throughout the 1990s with her repertoire of extremely difficult dives.
In the coming years, She won three more Olympic gold medals and a silver across the platform and springboard events. Her last Olympic gold medal came during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. With the fourth gold medal, she joined Americans Pat McCormick and Greg Louganis as the world’s only quadruple Olympic-diving champions.
She had also won the platform-diving world championship in 1991 at the age of 12, making her the youngest diving champion of all time.
3. Nishiya Momiji – 13 years and 330 days
The ongoing Tokyo Olympics saw a few record-breaking feats in the skateboarding event. For starters, the event of skateboarding is making its debut at the Olympics. Secondly, Japan’s Nishiya Momiji became the first ever women’s Olympic skateboarding champion.
The athlete is merely 13 years and 330 days old, which makes her one of the youngest individual gold medal winners in the history of the Olympics. In addition to that, the silver medal winning Rayssa Leal of Brazil is also merely 13 years and 203 days old.
Nishiya Momiji won the gold after Japanese compatriot Yuto Horigome won the gold in the men’s section.
2. Klaus Zerta – 13 years and 283 days
Klaus Zerta was only 13 years and 283 days old when he won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. He won the gold in the cox pairs event alongside teammates Bernhard Knubel and Heinz Renneberg.
Klaus was from West Germany but represented the unified team of Germany at the Olympics. Moreover, he is the youngest confirmed male athlete to win a gold medal in the history of the Summer Olympics.
1. Marjorie Gestring – 13 years and 268 days
Marjorie Gestring of the United States of America was only 13 years and 268 days old when she won the gold medal for her country. The diver won the coveted medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games to become the youngest individual Olympic gold medalist. She defeated her compatriots Katherine Rawl and defending champion Dorothy Poynton-Hill in 3-meter springboard diving.
After the 1936 edition, the Olympics were halted for the second World War. Following the conclusion of the war, she could not qualify for the 1948 London Olympics. Marjorie Gestring would have won more gold medals considering her talent if not for the advent of World War II.
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