Sumary of Young Athletes Are Blazing New Trails at the Tokyo Olympics, and We’re Here For It:
- If you haven’t heard the name Hend Zaza before, expect to hear a lot more about her soon: after winning the West Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament, the 12-year-old table tennis player from Syria — who was just 11 when she qualified for the Games in 2020 — is set to become the youngest athlete to compete at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
- As for Team USA, 15-year-old Katie Grimes is the youngest US Olympic swimmer since five-time gold medalist Katie Ledecky kicked off her Olympic career in 2012, when she too was 15.
- Erriyon Knighton, a 17-year-old sprinter, is heading to Tokyo as the youngest American man to compete on the Olympic track and field team since 1964.
- In 2020, prior to the Tokyo Games being postponed, NBC reported that Zaza would be the youngest Olympian since Beatrice Hustiu, a Romanian figure skater who competed at the 1968 Winter Olympics.
- She also would have been only a year older than the youngest known Olympian in the modern era: Dimitrios Loundras, a 10-year-old Greek gymnast who won a bronze medal at the first “modern era” Olympics in 1896.