News

    Age Range at Olympics Surprising

    Multimedia

    Audio

    If you think you are too old or too young to compete in the Olympics, you may be in for a shock. As VOA's Steve Schy covers the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, he found out the age of the competitors spans a surprisingly wide range.

    When most people think of Olympic athletes, they think of young people who are in the prime of life and the peak of their athletic skills. And for the most part they would be right. Most of the Olympians are in their early and mid 20s.

    Figures are not available yet for the current Turin Olympics, but at the last Winter Games, the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the average age for the women was 25, while the men averaged 26 years and eight months of age.

    But that does not even get close to the extremes. A new record for the oldest-ever male Winter Olympian has already been set at the Turin Games. Scott Baird, a member of the United States curling team from Bemidji, Minnesota, was 54 years and 282 days old when he competed in his team's opening game.

    That surpassed the previous record set by British athlete James Coates, who competed in skeleton at the 1948 Winter Games in Saint Moritz at the age of 53 years, 328 days. Baird told VOA Sports how it feels to set the first record at the Turin Olympics.

    "Well, I was a little bit surprised when I found out, but I thought, its pretty cool. I still consider myself an athlete and feel young enough at heart to compete. So I am excited about just being here and being a part of team USA," he said.

    But do not look for Scott Baird to take the record to a new level at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada.

    "Actually, I am pretty sure this is going to be it for me," he said. "I think 2006 is probably the end of my competitive curling career. You know, I will go back into just curling leagues and maybe seniors, and might even step back into coaching a little bit in the future."

    The oldest woman to ever participate in the Winter Games is Anne Abernathy, who is representing the Virgin Islands at the Turin Olympics. It was the sixth appearance for the 52-year-old, who is affectionately known as Grandma Luge.

    Unfortunately, Abernathy broke her wrist when she wiped out during a training run Sunday and was unable to compete this time around. No word yet on whether she will try to make the team headed for Vancouver in 2010.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the youngest competitors here in Turin are 14-year-old Sun Zhifeng of China and 15-year-old Manuel Pietropoli of Italy. Sun represented China in the women's halfpipe snowboard event, while Pietropoli is a halfpipe snowboarder from Italy.

    Pietropoli is the youngest-ever male competitor at the Winter Games, taking over the title from Germany's Jan Hoffmann, a figure skater at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.

    And although Sun is very young, the women's record belongs to British figure skater Cecilia Colledge. She took part in the 1932 Olympics at Lake Placid at the astonishingly young age of 11.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.