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From the earliest to the longest-lasting: the youngest athletes and the Tokyo 2020 veterans


The Olympic Games present athletes of the most varied cultures, races and religions, but also ages. Luciana Aranguiz placeholder image 07/24/2021 17:04 Clarí sports Updated 07/24/2021 17:04 The Olympic Games are a celebration of world sport that brings together athletes from different countries, races and cultures. And also of the most varied ages. Among the almost 12,000 athletes who will compete in Tokyo 2020 are from children who are taking their first steps in high-performance sports

Luciana Aranguiz placeholder image

07/24/2021 17:04

  • Clarí

  • sports

Updated 07/24/2021 17:04

The Olympic Games are a celebration of world sport that brings together athletes from different countries, races and cultures.

And also of the most varied ages.

Among the almost 12,000 athletes who will compete in Tokyo 2020 are

from children

who are taking their first steps in high-performance sports

to veterans

with a lot of experience, such as Santiago Lange, who at 59 years old will compete for the seventh time in an Olympic event.

The Sanisidrense, champion in Rio de Janeiro 2016 in the Nacra 17 class of yachting with Cecilia Carranza, is

the fourth oldest athlete

to compete in the Japanese capital, a list led by the Australian rider

Mary Hanna


66 years old.

At the other end of the age group is the Syrian tennis player table

Hend Zaza

, with

12 years already bid farewell to the tournament


Hours into the game, here's a look at the five youngest and five oldest athletes who will see action at Tokyo 2020.

The youngest

Hend Zaza, a Syrian table tennis player, will be the fifth youngest athlete in history to compete in an Olympic Games.

ITTF Photo

Born in Hamah, a city in central Syria on January 1, 1999,

Hend Zaza

started playing tennis when she was four years old, following in the footsteps of her brother Obaida.

In March last year,

at just 11 years old

, she beat Lebanese

Mariana Sahakian




in the West Asia Olympic Qualifier final in Amman (Jordan)

and won a place in Tokyo.

"It was the first time that I competed in an event of this magnitude and I won the title, which exceeded my expectations," he said.

It was debut and farewell in the appointment of the rings - this Saturday she lost to the Austrian

Jia Liu

, 39 years old.

But it was enough for her to become the fifth youngest athlete in history to compete in the Olympic Games.

The record, according to the data of the International Olympic Committee, belongs to the Greek gymnast

Dimitrios Loundras

, who competed

at age 10

in the first Games of the Modern Era, in Athens 1896,

and won a team bronze medal


Kokona Hiraki is the youngest member of the Japanese delegation.

Photo EFE / Sebastião Moreira

The Japanese

Kokona Hiraki

, also


years old (although five months older than Zaza), is the second in the list of the smallest competitors of Tokyo 2020 and the youngest of all the sports of the local delegation.

He was born on August 26, 2008 in Kutchan, Japan, and grabbed a skateboard for the first time driven by his mother Minako, a fan of this sport.

A skate prodigy, one of the sports that will make its

Olympic debut

in Tokyo, in 2019 she became the youngest skater to win a medal in the

X Games

, by hanging the silver in the edition that was held in Minneapolis.

She qualified for the Games by finishing fifth at the

Dew Tour 2021

, the Tokyo's last qualifying event for women's skateboarding, which her compatriot

Sakura Yosozumi won


Sky Brown took bronze in the park modality of the São Paulo Skate World Championship, in September 2019. Photo World Skate / Piero Capannini

At that event, silver went to

Sky Brown

, another prodigy of the sport and the third youngest athlete in Tokyo.

Born in Miyazaki, Japan, the land of her mother, on June 7, 2008, she arrived at the Games when

she was


13 years old


And she will be the youngest Olympian in history to represent Great Britain, the country where her father was born and which adopted her as his own.

At just six years old, he began to amaze the world with an unusual talent and

shortly before he turned 10 he had already joined the British team.

In 2019, she became the first skateboarder in X Games history to successfully perform a difficult trick called "Frontside 540", which consists of

one and a half rotation of the board.

In that season, in addition, the bronze in the World-wide one of San Pablo hung,

with only eleven years.

In May last year, he suffered a fall during a training extremely hard, which caused a

skull fracture

and his left wrist and arm, as

well as

lacerations to his lungs and stomach


Two weeks later,

plaster included, he was back on top of the board.

And last May, he returned to compete. 

Bombette Martin was enshrined in the British Championship in April.

Photo Charlie Neibergall / AP

Her compatriot and teammate

Bombette Martin

, who was born in New York on June 1, 2006, will be another of Tokyo's earliest athletes, at

15 years old.

Like Brown, Martin can represent Great Britain, the country of his dad Jon.

She describes herself as "half New Yorker and half


(referring to Birmingham, the English city where she spent much of her childhood)."

The British girl started skateboarding in Manhattan

when she was nine years old

and her rise was very rapid.

At 13, she was 37th at the São Paulo World Cup.

In April 2021, she was consecrated in the British Championship, a performance that ended up consolidating her as a member of the British team for the Games.

Katie Grimes will be the youngest American swimmer at a Games since Katie Ledecky in London 2012. Photo Jeff Roberson / AP

The top 5 of the youngest athletes in Tokyo is completed by American

Katie Grimes

, who turned


on January 8.

She will be the youngest swimmer to represent the North American country in an Olympic event since

Katie Ledecky

in London 2012. 

Last June, Grimes finished

second in the 800 meters of the



for the Games, just behind Ledecky, his idol,

and secured a place in the Japanese event.

She did it with a time of 8m20s36, her personal best and just six seconds more than the five-time Olympic champion, who will also be in Tokyo.

The oldest

Mary Hanna, 66, is the oldest of Tokyo 2020. Photo Reuters


Mary Hanna



, leads the list of the oldest athletes of the Japanese Games, in which she will compete in the individual and team dressage events of equestrianism, a sport that she began practicing when she was only four years old. family ranch.

It will be her




after Atlanta 1996 - her best individual performance, 24th place -, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, London 2012 and Rio 2016, where at 61 years and 258 days she became the oldest athlete of her career. country to compete in a Games.

In Tokyo, that record will improve.

Australian Andrew Hoy already has three Olympic golds per team and one individual silver.

Photo Instagram @hoyeventing

His compatriot

Andrew Hoy



and also a representative in riding, is the escort on that list.

Who will compete in Tokyo in the complete individual and team competition has to his credit

three Olympic golds

-Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, all per team- and an individual silver in the event of his country, where he was the standard bearer in the opening ceremony.

In Tokyo, he will compete in his

eighth Games

and will seek to climb to the top of the podium once again.

Norwegian Geir Gulliksen will play his second Games at the age of 61.

Photo Twitter

The Norwegian

Geir Gulliksen



, will compete in the individual show jumping event and will be the third oldest athlete in the Japanese capital.

Last year he won his first World Cup title

in Gothenburg, Sweden.

"I thought it would never happen, because I am getting older. But age is something you have in your mind. Many tell me to leave room for young people.

Let them come, they do not intimidate me

," he commented after that victory.

In Tokyo he will play his second Games, after his participation in

Beijing 2008

, where he was eighth in team jumping and 45th in the individual event.

At 59, Santiago Lange will seek to revalidate the gold he won in Rio 2016 with Cecilia Carranza.

Photo Maxi Failla

The fourth oldest of this edition of the Games will be an old acquaintance of the Argentines, Santiago Lange.

The 59-year-old from San Juan will seek to revalidate the gold he won in Rio de Janeiro 2016 in the Nacra class together with Cecilia Carranza, with whom he will

the flag at the opening party this Friday.

Lange competed in Soling in Seoul 1988, Laser in Atlanta 1996 and Tornado in Sydney 2000. In that last class he later won

two bronze medals

in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 with

Carlos Espínola


And then he was consecrated in Rio.

Tokyo will be his seventh participation,

although not the last, if it depends on him


"I love the Olympic experience. It is in my blood and in my heart. In Tokyo we want to win gold. And I do not close the door for Paris 2024," he said.

Moroccan Abdelkebir Ouaddar was flagged for his country at the opening ceremony of Rio 2016. Photo Instagram @kebirouaddar

The last on this list is Moroccan 

Abdelkebir Ouaddar

, who will also compete in show jumping events.

Born on July 15, 1952 - he just turned


- when he was a child he

was adopted by the royal family of his country

, which introduced him to the world of equestrian sport. 

In Rio 2016 he had his Olympic debut. At those Games, he

was the standard



for his delegation at the opening ceremony and finished 50th in the individual jump competition. 

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-07-24

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