Kokona Hiraki of Japan, 12, and Sky Brown of Britain, 13, won the silver and bronze medals in the park skateboard competition on Wednesday. Because they didn’t win, the failed to claim the title of youngest-ever Olympic gold medalist.
Not that we really know who that is.
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.
Either Hiraki or Brown would have broken the record.
The youngest winner of any medal was Dimitrios Loundras, a Greek who at age 10 in 1896 won a bronze medal in team gymnastics.
But there’s one possible twist to Gestring’s record.
At the Paris Games of 1900, a Dutch rowing pair recruited a local French boy to be their coxswain. After they won, and a picture was taken, 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.