Chicago — Ranging in ages from 13 to 18, teenage Olympic athletes at the Tokyo Games have achieved gold medals in sports such as swimming, skateboarding and gymnastics.
There is no formal minimum age for the Olympics, but individual sports do have eligibility requirements.
Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old from Alaska, is the first Olympic swimmer to hail from the state. She is one of 11 teenagers on the U.S. swimming team and won the gold medal in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke final.
"I was definitely racing for a medal. I knew I had it in me," Jacoby said after her win. "I wasn't really expecting a gold medal, so when I looked up and saw the scoreboard it was insane."
Momiji Nishiya, a 13-year-old from Japan, is one of the youngest gold medalists ever after she won first place in the final for the women's skateboarding street event. Skateboarding made its debut as an official Olympic event this year.
Rayssa Leal, a 13-year-old from Brazil, placed second in the women’s skateboarding street, which also makes her one of the youngest overall medalists and Brazil’s youngest Olympic medalist.
Also in the skateboarding event, Funa Nakayama, a 16-year-old from Japan won bronze.
Anastasija Zolotic, a 18-year-old from the U.S., made history when she won the gold medal in women’s taekwondo, a first for the U.S.
“My eight-year-old self was running around the school yard saying I was going to be Olympic champion but she could never have imagined what this moment is like,” Zolotic said after the event. “It’s unbelievable. It really hasn’t sunk in yet.”
When the men’s 400 meter freestyle final was underway, no one anticipated that the 18-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia would eventually come out on top.
Kim Je-deok, a 17-year-old from South Korea, defended his men’s archery team title this Olympics by winning a gold medal.
Vladislava Urazova and Viktoria Listunova, who are both 16 years old and from Russia, were a part of the Russian Olympic Committee team that upset the U.S. in the women’s all-around team event for gymnastics.
Chen Yuxi and her diving partner Zhang Jiaqi blew their opponents away in the final of the women’s 10m synchronized platform. Both hailing from China, Yuxi is 15 years old and Jiaqi is 17 years old.