Teens take over at the Tokyo Olympic Games
and where we witnessed the next generation dominate at the Olympics. Age is
nothing but a number when it comes to the youngest athletes who competed at the Games. Some of athletes are middle school
students and they made a huge impression on the world’s biggest stage. The teens more than proved they
have the skill and the will to reach the top.
The inaugural women’s street event produced its youngest podium for an individual event in Games history. The average age was 14 years, a big win for the early adolescent stage.
A couple of sports had no age restrictions, Syrian Hend Zaza, whose training was interrupted by civil war, was the youngest Olympian the Tokyo Games since Romanian figure skater, Beatrice Hustiu took part in the 1968 Winter Games. Unfortunately, Zaza was eliminated out of the competition during the first round.
It is impressive to be an Olympian at age 14 and even more impressive to win a gold medal. We saw China’s Quan Honchan take it to the next level, receiving two perfect 10 scores from all judges in the women’s individual 10m diving platform final.
Team USA’s Athing Mu, 19, won a gold in a historic performance during the women’s 800-meter race.
In the synchronized platform event, two more young Chinese women, Chen Yuxi, 15, and Zhang Jiaqi, 17, secured a gold.
The youth movement in skateboarding showed up strongly in Tokyo, especially on the women’s side, where all six medalists are teenagers. In women’s street, all three medalists were teens: gold medalist Momiji Nishiya of Japan and silver medalist Rayssa Leal of Brazil who are both only 13, while 16-year-old Funa Nakayama of Japan took bronze. On the men’s side 18-year-old Keegan Park of Australia took home the gold medal.
Another world-class performance was from Anastasija Zolotic of the USA, who won gold in taekwondo women’s 57kg. No American woman had ever won a gold in taekwondo.
The world saw 17-year-old Kim Je-deok helped South Korea defend its men’s archery team title. South Korea has always been a big name in archery and Kim is proof the country could always remain on top for the sport.
The Olympic Games brought many newer young names into the spotlight, and we are excited to follow their journeys for Paris 2024. With the Paralympic Games on the horizon, we have no doubt there will be more youth talent dazzling us all with their talent.
Our UTS Ambassadors, Husnah Kukundakwe age 14 from Uganda is competing in swimming and Ezra Frech 16, from USA will be competing in Para track and field as the youngest member of the US Paralympic team. Our full support will be with them both as they take on the competition of their lives!