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Everybody desperately waits for the Olympics to start so that they can watch the most talented athletes flaunt their amazing talents in front of millions of viewers. And the Olympics is one such event wherein you see many young people showcasing their talent and hard work to earn a medal for their efforts and their country. Seeing all these youths participating in Rio Olympics 2016, it got us wondering, how old do you have to be to compete in the Olympics?

If you are also wondering what is the minimum age for the Olympics or if you want to find out how old you have to be in the Olympics, then you have come to the right place because we will tell you everything you need to know about the age requirement for the Olympics.

The youngest participant to be competing in the Rio Olympics 2016 is Gaurika Singh. She was born in 2003 and is thirteen years old. Although, she did not qualify for the semi-finals, she is an accomplished swimmer for such a young age. Keep in mind, there are different age requirements for Olympics for different sports.

There are certain age restrictions for people interested in gymnastics, as the minimum age for Olympics gymnasts are determined by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique. Since 1997, the age limit for gymnasts has been set to 16 years. You will be surprised to know that in the year 1981, the age limit was 15 years!

To answer your question on how old do you have to be to compete in the Olympics? Then let us break it down for you. Men’s Soccer rules say, that you must be under 23 years of age to participate in the Olympics. However, there is an exception to that age restriction; there are three designated players fixed for over-age players.

For swimming enthusiasts, the age limit is 14-years-old, for Equestrian it’s 16 years old and for Judo, the age requirement is 15 years old. 17 years old is the minimum age limit for those participating in the sports of Boxing, wrestling, and weightlifting.

If these age restrictions facts didn’t shock you, then you will be surprised to know that the training for Olympic gymnasts starts from the age 6 to 8 years old, and in some countries, even lower than that!

Recently, even older participants are making waves in Rio Olympics 2016. Oksana Chusovitina is the oldest gymnast to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is 41-years-old and is already in the limelight because of her captivating performance in the competition. This is her seventh time participating in the Olympics and she is representing Uzbekistan.

Although she is not the oldest person to ever compete, she won a silver medal in a sport where the minimum age requirement is 16 years, which is a commendable feat. Most of her competitors are in their early 20’s or 30’s, but she’s proven that age really is nothing but a number! 

The minimum age requirement is mandatory to protect child athletes from getting injured at such a young age, especially when their bones and muscles are still developing. Jeanne Dopbrak, a sports medicine physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, explains the reason behind this age restriction. She says, “a child athlete’s immature skeleton just isn’t ready to handle the day-to-day stresses that will occur.” She explains that apart from the physical stress, young athletes also have to go through a lot of emotional pressure from their mentors and parents to give their best.

Needless to say, the minimum age for Olympics is actually a good initiative to let the young people enjoy their childhood and to prepare for it when they are both emotionally and physically ready! 

Speaking of young and amazing athletes at this year’s Olympics, check out the amazing 19-year-old American gymnast, Simone Biles, as she is killing it on her gymnastic routines in Rio! She earned herself a gold on the women’s all around gymnastics event! Check out her details here!