He’s the Youngest Olympic Medalist Ever21st Aug 2016 |
You are forgiven if you have never heard of Dimitrios Loundras, even though he holds a very special Olympic record. At the 1896 Olympics in Athens, he became the youngest athlete to win a medal. Since this was the first of the modern Olympic, he obviously held the record as the youngest winner through all time at that moment. But the interesting thing is that this record has never been broken. And I do not think it ever will, for Loundras was only ten years old when he won a bronze medal in gymnastics. When he died in 1970, he was the last living participant from these games.
He won the medal in the parallel bars event, and the competition for a bronze medal was not exactly fierce – there were only three participants. The Olympic Games were much smaller at that time. There were only 241 participating athletes from only 14 nations, and the entire games lasted only nine days. Greece was the country that won most medals in these games, so Loundras absolutely gave a very big contribution to this great part of Greek sporting history. At the time, the Panathenaic Stadium broke the record of the largest crowd ever to watch a sporting event.
Professional sportsmen were very uncommon at that time, so Dimitrios Loundras did not pursue a career in sports. Instead he became an officer in the Hellenic Navy, the naval forces of Greece. He became a rear admiral, and also had a brief spell as prefect of Lesbos.
In addition to Loundras, there was a very young participant in the 1900 Olympics in Paris. The boy is believed to have been seven years old, but his name has been lost to us. What we do know about him is that he was a coxswain for the Dutch rowing team in these games.