The major contenders Sky Brown of Britain and Kokona Hiraki of Japan are bidding for gold in the park skateboard competition on Wednesday. If either wins, she would achieve another distinction: the youngest-ever Olympic gold medalist.
Or would she?
The current accepted youngest gold medalist is Marjorie Gestring, a 13-year-old American diver who won the springboard competition in 1936. Her record was threatened by Momiji Nishiya of Japan, a 13-year-old who won the street skateboard competition last week. But Nishiya was about two months older than Gestring was at the time of her gold.
However, either Hiraki, 12, or Brown, who is 13 but younger than Gestring was, would break the record.
The youngest medalist of any color was Dimitrios Loundras, a Greek who at age 10 in 1896 won a bronze medal in team gymnastics
But there’s one possible snag to Brown or Hiraki getting the record.
At the Paris Games of 1900, a Dutch rowing pair recruited a local French boy to be their coxswain. After they won, he disappeared into the crowd. Though several candidates have been put forward, his identity has never been discovered and remains one of the greatest mysteries in Olympic history.
The consensus is that he was 10 or younger, but despite the avid interest of Olympics researchers for years, that simply isn’t known for sure.