Do any sports at the 2016 Rio Olympics have minimum or maximum age limits?
With the start of the 2016 Olympic Games just days away, the best athletes in the world are ready to descend on the Brazilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro.
Over 10,500 athletes from 206 different countries will vie for medals in 28 different sports, included newcomers golf and rugby. Veterans like Michael Phelps, Bernard Lagat and Justin Gatlin are set to headline Team USA, which is favored to finish atop the medal table once again.
However, Olympians aren’t always veterans, as sports like gymnastics and diving tend to skew towards much younger athletes. Just this year, 19-year-olds Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles are expected to be some of the biggest stars of the Rio Olympics.
There is no specific age limit for athletes to compete in the Olympics, as the IOC hands over that authority to each individual sports federation. For some sports such as basketball, there is no minimum or maximum age limit, while others have strict requirements. .
Gymnastics is the sport where age likely matters the most, and athletes are required to be 16 years of age or turn 16 during the calendar year of the Olympics to participate. Men’s soccer also has one of the strictest set of rules, as athletes must be under 23 years old, apart from three designated overage players.
Diving has the youngest age requirement of any sport with such rules at 14, followed by judo at 15 and equestrian at 16. Boxing, weightlifting and wrestling have set their age limits at 17.
There have been a few Olympic age controversies over the years, particularly in gymnastics. Most recently, multiple members of the gold medalist Chinese gymnastics team at Beijing 2008 were investigated for potentially being underage, although all were eventually cleared.
The youngest member of Team USA in Rio will be Kanak Jha, a 16-year-old table tennis star.
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