Return to: Olympics 2012

Olympics for the Young and Old

Hiroshi Hoketsu will be the oldest Olympian in London

by Catherine McNiff

Related Links

There aren’t set age requirements for the Olympic Games; that is, the governing body of each individual sport sets its own rules regarding age. For example, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) established the most current age requirements in 1997: gymnasts must be at least 16 years of age, or turning 16 within the calendar year, to compete in senior-level events. Diving minimum’s age is 14. While most Olympic sports do not have a stated age maximum, boxers age out at 35.

Separated by Six Decades

But before they had all those rules, a 10-year-old Greek boy named Dimitrios Loundras competed in the 1896 Olympics in Athens, winning a bronze medal in a team event and qualifying for all time as the youngest Olympian. As for the oldest Olympian, that honor goes to Oscar Swahn, a shooter from Sweden who competed in the 1920 Belgium Olympics at age 72 (he edges out dressage competitor Arthur von Pongracz of Austria, 72, by 232 days). He won a silver in the running deer double-shot team event. Swahn won six medals over the course of his career, which began at age 60.

The Oldest Olympian, Twice

In London, Hiroshi Hoketsu will be competing on the Japanese dressage team in an individual event at age 71. He will ride Whisper, a 15-year-old mare. Hoketsu will be the oldest Olympian at the 2012 Olympics, as he was in Beijing in 2008. The equestrian made his Olympic debut in 1964 in his native Tokyo. If Hoketsu has competitive aspirations beyond this Olympics, he will have to to qualify for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's 2016 Olympic Games, in order to earn the distinction as the oldest Olympian of all time.




More about the 2012 Summer Olympics

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
The state of Maryland was named in honor of Henrietta Maria (queen of Charles I of England).

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks