With a 10-year-old GB skateboarder set for the Olympics - 6 athletes proving you're never too young14th Mar 19 | Lifestyle
Age is no barrier when you've got this kind of talent.
What were you doing when you were 10? For normal children, that would be a mixture of spelling tests and playing The Floor Is Lava – but Sky Brown is no normal child.
Already the world’s youngest professional skateboarder – and a fledgling social media star – Brown looks set to star for Team GB at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, following skateboarding’s inclusion as one of five new Olympic sports.
If selected, she’d be 12 come competition time (not quite the youngest ever – that honour still belongs to Dimitrios Loundras, who won bronze in team gymnastics in 1896, aged 10), an extraordinary feat for someone not yet at secondary school.
Very few athletes are quite that young, but she’s not the first to raise eyebrows. Here’s a few more early birds proving age is just a number…
1. Katie Ledecky
Already a poolside veteran, Ledecky has more World Championship golds than any other female swimmer in history – and she’s only 21.
At 15, Washington, D.C. born Ledecky stunned her competitors and classmates by comfortably winning 800m freestyle gold at London 2012, and since then has won, well, everything.
You have to feel sorry for her rivals – they’ll probably have to put up with her for at least another decade.
2. Kylian Mbappe
A debutante for Monaco at 16, the world’s second most expensive footballer at 18, and now a World Cup Winner at 20 – only the Ballon d’Or remains for Mbappe, who must still gets ID’ed on nights out.
When he scored in last year’s World Cup Final, he became the second teenager to do so, alongside Pele. Don’t expect the comparisons to stop there.
3. You Young
The aptly named You Young became South Korea’s youngest ever national skating champion with victory in the 2016 South Korean Figure Skating Championships aged 11, and she’s won the title twice more since.
In her routines, Young has a flare for the modern, pirouetting to themes from Pirates Of The Caribbean, The Addams Family Musical, Swedish House Mafia and Black Swan.
4. Amy Tinkler
Gymnastics is a young person’s game: American superstar Simone Biles won her first World Championship gold aged 16, while China have previously fielded Olympians as young as 14.
In Britain, we have Amy Tinkler, who bagged bronze behind Biles at Rio aged just 16.
5. Alexander Zverev
Move over Boris Becker and Maria Sharapova, there’s a new teenager tearing up the world tennis rankings.
OK, he may not be a teenager anymore, but he was when he announced himself on the world stage by beating Roger Federer at the Halle Open in 2016. A flag-bearer for tennis’ changing of the guard – alongside 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov and 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas – the 21-year-old world no. 3 is surely overdue his maiden slam.
6. Max Verstappen
Verstappen became the youngest ever Formula One driver when he gridded for Toro Rosso at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix aged just 17.
Now 21, Verstappen was also (*deep breath*) the youngest driver to lead a lap; the youngest driver to set the fastest lap; the youngest driver to score points; the youngest driver to place on the podium; the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix; the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix more than once; and the youngest driver to win the same Grand Prix in successive years.
Long-dubbed a future world champion for his Senna-esque fearlessness and technical skill, expect him to be topping podiums for many years to come.
© Press Association 2019