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Top 10 Youngest Olympic Winners

Written by Top 100 Arena on 2012-08-03
The Olympics are an event mostly for amateur athletes to shine in sports that are mostly individual in nature, such as figure skating, gymnastics, and equestrian. Many of the athletes who practice Olympic sports retire at a young age, around 25-30 in some cases, because of the demand the sport puts on their bodies. As such, there have been some very young people who have won Olympic medals. Let’s visit the accomplishments of some of the youngest.

10 Sammy Wanjiru, 22

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The youngest runner to win the Olympic marathon, as well as the four major marathons, Sammy Wanjiru was only 22 years old when he won in Beijing 2008. He was no stranger to breaking world records and winning marathons by the time he got to Beijing, though. At only 18 years old, he also broke the world record in the half-marathon, and then broke it again three years later, in 2007. He is the first Kenyan to win a gold medal.

9 Arnold Jackson, 21

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In what was hailed as the “greatest race ever run,” Arnold Jackson won the gold for England in the 1500m run in the 1912 Olympics. He went on to lead a remarkable life, becoming the youngest brigadier general in the British army, and eventually becoming a barrister. He still remains the youngest runner to win gold at his event. More info on Wikipedia

8 Dmitry Nelyubin, 17

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Son of a 1968 Olympic cyclist, Dmitry Nelyubin is the youngest cycler to ever win a gold medal. He was part of the Soviet team pursuit cycling team in Seoul 1988. He trained all his life in cycling, but his only other significant lifetime achievement was his tragic murder in 2005. More info on Wikipedia

7 Bob Mathias, 17

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This fascinating man was able to overcome his inexperience to win the Decathlon at the 1948 London Games easily at just 17 years old, and without knowing many of the rules of the event. He nearly fouled out of the high jump and shot put portions of the event, but recovered nicely. He defended his title in 1952 in Helsinki, and went on to a varied career that included various television appearances and eventually politics. More info on Wikipedia

6 Anne Henning, 16

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At 15, Anne Henning was already setting speed-skating records in the 500m and 1,000m long-skate, making her a favorite for the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo. In an exciting 500m match, she managed to break another record, skating her way to gold at only 16. More info on Wikipedia

5 Tara Lipinski, 15

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Figure skater Tara Lipinski won the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Games when she was only 15 years old. She is still the youngest gold medalist in the Winter Olympic Game history. More info on Wikipedia

4 Dominique Moceanu, 14

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Part of the 1996 gold medal-winning Olympics gymnastics team, this pint-size pixie was known for her daring and skillful acrobatics on beam and floor routines. After the official event, she wowed the crowd with a floor routine she performed in the exhibitions. At age 14, she is one of the youngest team members to win Olympic gold. More info on Wikipedia

3 Nadia Comaneci, 14

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Not only was Nadia Comaneci the first gymnast to get a perfect score at the Olympics, she was also the youngest to win the all-around title at only 14 years old during the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Holder of 9 medals, she is easily the best-known gymnast in the world.

2 Fu Mingxia, 13

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In Barcelona in 1992, Fu Mingxia became the youngest diver to win the 10-meter platform diving competition at 13. From there, she became a popular figure in China, her home nation. She defended her title in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. More info on Wikipedia

1 Marjorie Gestring, 13

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Marjorie Gestring won gold for the United States diving team in the 1936 Berlin Games when she was only 13 years, 268 days old. To this day she is the youngest person to ever win an Olympic medal. She was unable to defend her title in 1940 because the Olympics were cancelled due to World War II. More info on Wikipedia

These athletes were all remarkable people to begin with, but are even more so for having the discipline and talent to accomplish these athletic feats at such a young age. The talent, precision, and skill involved in each of their sports is phenomenal, and to have it at such young ages is incredible.

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