Meet the Olympians Who Prove Age Really Is Just a Number

If you think swimmer Michael Phelps's gold medals at age 31 are impressive, check out the accomplishments (and ages) of these athletes.

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Oscar Swahn (third from the right) was 64 when he competed with this Swedish shooting team that won gold in the 1912 Olympics. He became the oldest Olympian ever in 1920 at age 72.


Thirty-one-year-old Michael Phelps won his 20th and 21st gold medals as part of this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro—impressive feats for a swimmer his age. But he's not the only Olympian who kept competing past what many would consider to be his prime athletic years.

This year's athletes include Oksana Chusovitina, a 41-year-old gymnast representing Uzbekistan; Jo Pavey, a 42-year-old track and field athlete from Great Britain; and Mary Hanna, a 61-year-old equestrian from Australia. Indeed, Rio is set to be a standout year for older Olympians, and it goes to show that for some athletes, age is no barrier.

Here are a few more athletes who made it to the games later in their lives. And if this inspires you to compete—no matter what your age may be—here’s more information about the summertime Olympic Games in 2020. You’ve still got four years to train before Tokyo.

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