OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Age is just a number at the Olympic Games.

Whether old or young, here are a few Canadian athletes you might surprise you in the age department.

Youngest man to bring home an Olympic gold:

Ontario’s Reginald ‘Hooley’ Smith was 19 years, 27 days old when he helped the men’s hockey team beat the U.S. team with a 6-1 victory at the Chamonix 1924 Winter Games. Throughout the five games, the right winger contributed to the Canadian efforts by netting a total of 18 goals.

Meanwhile, Donald McPherson was just 15 years and 4 days old at the time of his men’s singles figure skating event at Squaw Valley 1960, making him Canada’s youngest male Winter Olympian to date.

Youngest woman to bring home an Olympic gold:

Beginning her skiing career at the age of three, Kathy Kreiner first turned heads at the Sapporo 1972 Winter Games. Four years later, at the Innsbruck 1976 Winter Games, Kreiner won gold in the Giant Slalom event, at 18 years 285 days old. That year, it was Canada’s sole gold medal, earning the North Vancouver athlete the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award. She went on to also compete in the Lake Placid 1980.

In the Grenoble 1968 Winter Games, alpine skier Betsy Clifford competed at 14 years and 118 days old, making her Canada’s youngest Winter Olympian.

And at 17 years and 44 days, figure skater Debbi Wilkes remains the youngest Canadian female medalist to date, taking silver for team skate with partnery Guy Revell in Innsbruck 1974.

Oldest man to bring home an Olympic gold:

Russ Howard has experienced his share of provincial, national and world titles in the curling rink. Between 1980 and 1994, Howard led his Ontario team to eight provincial championships, two Briers, and two world championships.

Born in Midland, Ontario, it was at the Turin 2006 Winter Games when he brought home gold alongside Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue, at 50 years 5 days old.

Beating Finland, Howard made Canadian Olympic history as a member of the team that won Canada’s first gold medal in men’s curling – a belated birthday gift.

Oldest woman to bring home an Olympic gold:

Danielle Goyette is an Olympic pro, representing Team Canada three times.

In the Nagano 1998 Winter Games, Goyette led the women’s hockey team to silver, scoring eight goals in six games. In Salt Lake City 2002, the women’s team earned gold. Then, in 2006 at the Turin Winter Games, the Albertan was Canada’s Opening Ceremony flagbearer, later earning the title of the oldest Canadian female Winter Olympian to win a gold medal.

Curler Carolyn Darbyshire-McRory was 46 years and 82 days old when she aided her team in securing silver at Vancouver 2010, making her Canada’s oldest female Winter Olympian and Winter Olympic medallist.

With files from the Canadian Olympic Committee.


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