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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs