Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Gold at 18 Years Old, But She's Older Than Many Of These Young Olympians
Twentysomethings the world over plunged into mid-midlife crisis mode Friday when 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin won gold in the Olympic slalom. With a time of just one minute and 44.52 seconds, she edged out the second place finisher by .53 seconds and became the youngest woman to win an Olympic slalom. If you're aching to feel both emotionally masochistic and insecure about your life achievements thus far, check out these other Olympians who are just as young and talented as Shiffrin! But mostly young.
Maggie Voisin (USA): Freeskiing
Unfortunately, this 15-year-old’s Olympic run was cut short by a broken fibula. While she had been a favorite to medal this year, Voisin’s aspirations will have to wait until her next Olympics, when she may compete at the geriatric age of 19.
Nick Goepper (USA) in Freestyle Skiing: Slopestyle
Guys. GUYS. He’s from Indiana! In celebration of my fellow Hoosier, I would like to quote Kurt Vonnegut, another Hoosier: “Thus do I and millions like me tell strangers that we are Middle Westerners, as though we deserved some kind of medal for being that.” Nick, on behalf of all Hoosiers, thank you for reeling in that gold medal. In other news, the 19-year-old Olympian has launched his own mini-bachelor, as girls compete online to be his (belated) Valentine.
Polina Edmunds (USA): Figure Skating
Fifteen does seem to be a magical age. Edmunds placed ninth out of 30 in the Olympic short program, and placed second to Gracie Gold (18, in fourth place at Sochi) at the U.S. championships earlier this year. See, mom? If Olympians can still love and cherish their stuffed animals, so can I!
Yulia Lipnitskaya (Russia): Figure Skating
From Russia, with love. While Lipnitskaya’s falls during the figure skating finals bumped her down to fifth place, the 15-year-old had been expected to contend for the gold. Instead, her 17-year-old teammate Adelina Sotnikova swooped in for the gold medal, edging out South Korea’s Yuna Kim, whose age I will not mention because it is greater than 20.
Jason Brown (USA): Figure Skating
Jason Brown is 19, and figure skating is robbing the cradle across gender lines. Brown’s youth spills out through his expressive limbs and shining ponytail, and his 2014 free skate inspired the fantastic commentator line, “He has something that’s very unique that we have seen, and that is an ability to connect with the audience, and by extension the judges.” Profound. Ultimately, Brown has proven we can’t touch this.
Sara Takanashi (Japan): Ski Jumping
Yes, that is a five-foot 17-year-old launching her body over 100 meters on two strips of fiberglass. Welcome to the Olympics, women’s ski jumping. It’s good to have you here.