Who is the youngest Olympian to compete? Other young medal winners – USA TODAY

Since 1896, the modern Olympic Games have delighted audiences during the winter and summer. 
Athletes from across the globe these days compete in just under 50 sports at the Summer Games and 16 at the Winter Games, all vying for the coveted gold, silver or bronze medals. The oldest Olympian to ever compete was Oscar Swahn of Sweden who was 72 years old when he competed in shooting at the 1920 Olympics. 
But what about on the other side of the age spectrum? Who is the youngest Olympian? Here are some of the youngest athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. 
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Dimitros Loundras is the youngest athlete to ever compete in the Olympic Games, taking part in the 1896 Athens Olympics at 10 years, 216 days old. Loundras is also the youngest medal winner, having won the bronze medal in the team competition, according to Olympics.com. 
The young athlete participated only in the 1896 Olympics but has held this record since. 
Kim Yun-Mi of South Korea is the youngest Olympic gold winner in history, winning her medal at 13 years and 85 days old during the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, according to Guinness World Records. Kim competed in the 3,000 meter short-track speed skating relay event.
Marjorie Gestring is the youngest Summer Olympic gold medalist in history, having received the top prize for springboard diving at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Gestring of the U.S. competed at 13 years, 268 days old.
Klaus Zerta is the the youngest male Summer Olympic gold medal winner, participating at age 13 years and 283 days old. Zerta won gold during the 1960 Rome Olympics for Germany in coxed pairs rowing. 
Toni Nieminen is the youngest male Winter Olympic gold medalist, winning at 16 years and 259 days old, which beat the previous record holder by one day. Nieminen brought home the gold for Finland during the 1992 Albertville Olympics in the team large hill ski jump and the individual large hill ski jump. 
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According to the Olympics, “there is no specific age limit for taking part in the Olympic Games.” Instead, the minimum age for eligibility depends on each individual international sports federation and the rules it sets for its sport.
For instance, in order for gymnasts to be eligible for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, their birthday must have been before Jan. 1, 2005, according to the 1997 regulation outlining the minimum age of 16 years old to compete in senior-level events. 
Meanwhile, in June of 2022, figure skating increased its minimum age for senior competition eligibility from 15 to 17 years old by the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan. The International Skating Union said in a news release the change is intended to protect “the physical and mental health, and emotional well-being of the Skaters.” 
In the end, age of eligibility depends on what sport the athlete wishes to compete in and the specific regulations the federation has laid out. 
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