Who is the youngest person to win an Olympic gold medal?

Who is the youngest person to win an Olympic gold medal? Perhaps a little surprisingly, the history of the Summer Olympics is awash with tales of plucky teenagers – and, in one unconfirmed report, a prepubescent boy – who have not only contested, but won, gold medals. The prepubescent boy in question was an unidentified local lad, recruited by Dutch rowers Françoise Brandt and Roelof Klein as a lightweight replacement for regular coxswain Hermanus Brockman in the final of the men’s coxed pairs at the 1900 Olympics in Paris. If he was, in fact, presented with gold medal, which is not altogether clear, he would almost certainly be the youngest gold medallist in Olympic history, for all that his name and age remain unknown.

The youngest confirmed Olympic gold medallist, though, was Marjorie Gestring, who was 13 years and 268 days old when she took top honours for the United States in the women’s 3-metre springboard diving at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Donna Elizabeth de Varona, who swam for the United States in the heats of the women’s 4 x 100-metre freestyle relay at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, was actually 139 days younger than Gestring, but did not receive a gold medal because she did not swim in the final.

Coincidentally, the youngest confirmed male Olympic gold medallist in history also participated at the 1960 Games and, like the mysterious youngster from six decades previously, was a coxswain in the men’s coxed pairs. However, his name was Klaus Zerta, he was 13 years and 283 years old and he represented the ‘United Team of Germany’.




Are Olympic gold medals really made of gold?

Are Olympic gold medals really made of gold? Prior to the Games of the III Olympiad, held in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904, Olympic champions were awarded silver, rather than gold, medals. Similarly, runners-up were awarded bronze, rather than silver, medals and third-place finishers received no medals at all.

However, at the Summer Olympics in 1904, the now-traditional gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for the first time. The three-medal format was quickly adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which retrospectively awarded medals to athletes who participate in the 1896 and 1900 Olympics, in Athens and Paris respectively.

In 1904, 1908 and 1912, Olympic gold medals were actually made from solid gold of various shapes and sizes. In London, in 1908, for example, Olympic gold medals measured just 35mm in diameter, but nonetheless consisted of 72 grams of 14 (58%) carat gold. The gold content alone made such medals worth in excess of £1,750 each, by modern standards. Nowadays, they regularly change hands for ten times that amount or more.

By contrast, according to the IOC specification, modern Olympic gold medals must measure at least 60mm in diameter and 3mm in thickness. Solid gold has long been dispensed with, though, replaced by silver, weighing 210 grams, coated with at least 6 grams of 24 carat gold. It appears that modern Olympic gold medals are no less desirable, as far as collectors are concerned, regularly fetching tens of thousands at auction, depending on rarity.

What is the longest-standing individual world record in athletics?

What is the longest-standing individual world record in athletics? The longest-standing individual world record in athletics is the 1:53.28 for the women’s 800 metres set by Czech athlete Jarmila Kratochvílová in Munich, Germany on July 26, 1983. At the age of 32, Kratochvílová improved on the previous record of 1:53.43 set by Nadyezhda Olizaryenko of the Soviet Union during the Summer Olympics in Moscow three years earlier. Interestingly, prior to July 26, 1983, the world record for the women’s 800 metres had been broken 23 times since World War II but, at the time of writing, has now stood for over 37 years; according to Svetlana Masterkova, who won the gold medal in the women’s 800 metres at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 in a time of 1:57.73, the record ‘will last for 100 years’.

Kratochvílová attracted worldwide attention because of her emergence from mediocrity at an age when most track and field athletes would be considering retirement and her unusually broad-shouldered, flat-chested, ‘masculine’ physique. She never failed a drug test, but competed in an era when state-sponsored doping was rife in Warsaw Pact countries, including Czechoslovakia, so her record, was, is and probably always will be treated with suspicion. Indeed, in 2017, European Athletics proposed that all athletics world records set before 2005, including those never subject suspicion, be expunged to remove any lingering doubts about doping scandals.

How long did Michael Johnson hold the 400-metre world record?

How long did Michael Johnson hold the 400-metre world record? Michael Johnson was the preeminent figure in athletics in the Nineties and, such was his domination of the 400-metre event, arguably the greatest runner ever to compete at that distance.

In the 400-metre final at the World Athletics Championships at the Estadio Olímpico in Seville, Spain on August 26, 1999, Johnson produced a new world record time of 43.18 seconds.

In so doing, he beat the previous best, 43.29 seconds, set by fellow American Harry Lee Reynolds Jr., popularly known as ‘Butch’ Reynolds, in Zürich, Switzerland on August 17, 1988. Reynolds’ record was a significant improvement on the previous mark, 43.86 seconds, set by compatriot Lee Evans at the Mexico City Olympics on October 18, 1968; Evans’ record was set at an altitude of 7,349 feet and annotated as such in some record books, but nevertheless stood for nearly twenty years.

Achieved at low altitude – Seville is just 23 feet above sea level on average – Johnson’s record did not stand for quite so long, but it was not until August 14, 2016, nearly 17 years later, that is was finally broken. In the 400-metre final at the Rio de Janiero Olympics on August 14, 2016, South African Wayde van Niekerk won the gold medal in a new world record time of 43.03 seconds, 0.15 seconds faster than Johnson. Johnson described the result as ‘a massacre’ and speculated that van Niekerk, aged just 24 at the time, might be able to achieve what he could not by running 400 metres in less than 43 seconds.

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