by Jackson Hongtong ’21
Chloe Kim, 17; Red Gerrard, 17; and Mikaela Shiffrin, 22; are three out of the ten athletes who won gold for the United States in the Pyeongchang Olympics. These three have surprised many viewers, considering the average age of Olympic athletes over the past two Olympics has been 25. This might just be a lucky year for these athletes, or maybe the youngsters have taken the more experienced veterans’ number.
Kim is a women’s halfpipe snowboarder who won the gold medal even before her last run, a free-run in which she scored a near-perfect 98.25. Gerrard is a men’s slopestyle gold-medal winner and won with his 1080-degree high-risk jump. These wins made them the youngest to ever win gold in the women’s halfpipe and men’s slopestyle. Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin, 22, is older than Gerrard and Kim, and not only won a gold and silver at this Olympics, but also won gold at the at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
Not only have the youngsters showed out in the Winter Olympics, but they did in the Summer Olympics as well. Athletes like swimmer Katie Ledecky won four gold medals at the age of 19 at the Rio Olympics. Gymnast Simone Biles also won four gold medals at age 19 in Rio.
Over time the Olympics’ age breakdown has changed. Veterans have won countless medals for their country. However, younger talents have been training for almost half of their life and have begun taking over the competition. The Olympics will likely continue to get younger.