History of the Winter Olympics: The Youngest Athletes

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Posted: August 10, 2021

Updated: August 11, 2021

  • They didn't have an ordinary childhood.
  • From an early age, they devoted themselves to sports.
  • The top 5 youngest and successful athletes in Winter Olympics

The first Youth Olympic Games were held in 2010 in Singapore, and the concept of such competitions was presented back in 1998. However, long before that, young athletes performed on equal terms next to adults. Some of them have done this quite successfully. We delved deeper into the history of the Winter Olympics to learn more about these sports geeks.

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1. History of the Winter Olympics – Scott Allen, USA

Age at Olympic debut: 14 years old

Best result at the Games: bronze 

Scott Allen took over the love of skating from his mother – in 1941, Sonya Furman won the Swedish Figure Skating Championship. At nine years old, Scott made his first national competition in New Jersey. In February 1961, Allen’s coach was going to take the guy to the world championship to show him the best skaters on the planet. The trip from New York to Prague fell through at the last moment due to the urgent affairs of the coach. As it turned out later, it saved Allen’s life. The plane crashed near Brussels. All passengers, including the full US figure skating team, were killed.

At the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Scott honored the memory of his compatriots with dignity. Allen sensationally won bronze in singles. And the online sportsbook news in the US states that he became the youngest male medalist in the history of the Winter Olympics. At 19, Scott completed his ice performances, went to Harvard, and later became vice president of a clothing company.

2. The Youngest Athletes – Kim Yun Mi, South Korea

Age at Olympic debut: 13 years old

Best result at the Games: gold

In 1994, Kim Yun Mi made Olympic short track history forever. A young athlete from South Korea won gold in the 3000m relay when she was only 13. No one else will approach this achievement – after the Olympics in Lillehammer, the International Skating Union banned athletes under 15 years old from participating in the competition. At the next Winter Olympics in Nagano, Kim Yoon Mi again celebrated victory in the team relay. Don’t miss your chance to bet on Intertops for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Kim ran in the final stage and won at the finish against her rival from the Chinese national team by just over one-tenth of a second. Besides, on that day, the South Korean team set the world record in the discipline. Due to injury, Kim Yun Mi did not make it to the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City and took up her studies. After completing her education, she switched to work as a coach and has trained many athletes who have achieved success at the national level.

3. History of the Winter Olympics – Alain Giletti, France

Age at Olympic debut: 12 years old

Best result at the Games: fourth place 

The 1952 Olympics in Oslo gave 12-year-old Alain Giletti a lot of impressions. He not only competed in figure skating with adult athletes but also carried the national flag at the opening ceremony. “Young skaters are often more relaxed during major competitions,” his coach Jacqueline Voedekran explained Gilletti’s success in an interview with INSEP. At the debut Olympics, Giletti took seventh place, and at the next two, he stopped a step away from the podium. Despite the absence of Olympic medals, the Frenchman was one of the strongest figure skaters of his generation. He won the French championship 10 times, took nine awards in the European championships, and won the 1960 World Cup while on leave from the army.

4. Young and Successful – Sonya Henie, Norway

Age at Olympic debut: 11 years old

Best result at the Games: gold 

11-year-old Sonya Henie arrived at the 1924 Olympics as the Norwegian figure skating champion. In Chamonix, she took the last eighth place, but this result did not break the young athlete. In the future, the Norwegian won three Olympic gold medals in single skating and won the world championship 10 times in a row. Henie skated in unusual costumes that set her apart from the other members and set the fashion for white skates. She also began to use elements of dance choreography in her performances. All this has led to an increase in the popularity of figure skating. After the 1936 Olympics, the skater moved to California to try herself at the cinema. In addition, Henie succeeded in this business too: the Norwegian starred in 12 films of the world-famous 20th Century Studios.

5. History of the Winter Olympics – Cecilia College, UK

Age at Olympic Debut: 11 years old

Best result at the Games: silver 

Cecilia College became interested in figure skating during the 1928 World Championships, which was held in London. The girl was most impressed by the winner Sonia Henie. Four years later, the idol turned into a competitor. At the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics, the College finished eighth out of 15 but took away the title of Youngest Athlete in Winter Olympic History from Henie. Cecilia took her only Olympic medal in 1936. Before the title of champion, the 15-year-old Englishwoman lacked only six points – the more experienced Sonya was stronger.

The following year, College won the World Cup and got to the top of her career, but the dream of Olympic gold was shattered by World War II. During the hostilities, the athlete worked as an ambulance driver and helped the wounded. In 1980, Cecilia was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. College is an iconic personality for the sport. Moreover, she was the first woman to perform such elements as double jump, bend, and camel.

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