Winter Olympics

SOLITUDE, UTAH - FEBRUARY 01: Nick Baumgartner of the United States competes during the first round ...
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The Oldest Athletes In The 2022 Olympics Are Proof That Age Is Just A Number

Keep these Olympians on your radar!

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The world of competitive sports tends to put a lot of emphasis on youth. Younger athletes are faster, stronger, more energetic, and just better, right? Not as far as the oldest Olympians competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are concerned. These Olympic athletes bring something else to the table: Experience, confidence, maturity, and hope for anyone who has ever felt like they are “too old” by the time they hit 40. Although be warned, the “oldest” athletes at this year’s Winter Olympics are not exactly senior citizens.

It’s important to note that there is not actually a specific age limit to compete in the Olympics, which means athletes competing against each other in any given sport can be decades apart in age, as they will be this year when the Olympic Games kicked off on February 4. Many of the youngest athletes at the 2022 Winter Olympics are in their teens. Some are high school kids traveling to Beijing with their teammates to compete on the world stage, while some of those teammates are old enough to be their parents.

Claudia Pechstein, 49

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German speed skater Claudia Pechstein is heading into her eighth Winter Olympics in Beijing this year. At 49 years old, Pechstein is officially the oldest female Winter Olympian at the 2022 Olympic Games. It’s been a long road for Pechstein, who began her speed skating career in East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell. Her first Olympic Games were in Albertville in 1992, and she is now the only woman to compete in eight Winter Games. Through those years Pechstein has won five Gold medals in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter skate, and nine Olympic medals overall. She turns 50 on Feb. 22; perhaps she’ll be able to celebrate the big 5-0 with another medal.

Jennifer Jones, 47

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Jennifer Jones has a long and storied history as a member of Team Canada’s women’s curling team. The 47-year-old is a two-time world champion, a six-time national champion, and even took home Olympic gold as a skip at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Unfortunately, Jones didn’t make it to the 2018 Olympic Games but she is back in 2022 and competing as the oldest member of Team Canada.

The Manitoba native is also pretty accomplished off the ice; she also works as a lawyer when she isn’t winning medals all over the place. It’s always nice to have a little something like a law degree to fall back on.

Silvana Tirinzoni, 42


At 42 years old, Silvana Tirinzoni is leading a team of women called “Team Tirinzoni” back to the Olympics to represent Switzerland in 2022. Tirinzoni is a highly decorated curler, with one world championship medal from 2019, a European silver medal from 2018, and a five-time Swiss championship title under her belt. Now, as the oldest member of Team Switzerland, she is returning to her second Olympic Games in an effort to win her first Olympic medal.

Considering the fact that Switzerland ranks eighth in medals won at the Winter Olympics along with her own strong history as a curler, it seems Tirinzoni has a good chance this year.

Nick Baumgartner, 40

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When Michigan native Nick Baumgartner turned 40 this year, the snowboard cross Olympian officially became the oldest member of Team USA. This is his fourth time going to the Winter Olympics, and he earned his first gold medal in the mixed team Snowboard cross with Lindsey Jacobellis. He had high hopes that the fourth time would be the charm when it comes to winning a medal; he came in fourth at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018. “Fourth place was close, as close as you could possibly get,” Baumgartner told Click On Detroit. “I want one of those medals. It’s the one thing missing. It’s not necessary as my career has been awesome, but I put this work in for a reason. It wasn’t just to make an Olympics. It’s to go there, make some noise and go out swinging.”

John Shuster, 39

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Team USA curler and Minnesota native John Shuster has a goal for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing; he wants to win another gold medal. He and his team won the first ever Olympic gold at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, but he has not had the same success at the last three Winter Games. In fact, the 39-year-old and his team placed dead last at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. But he isn’t giving up hope. “When your back is against the wall, that's where your character really shows,” Shuster told the Star Tribune in November. "Everybody on our team, we're all fighters.”

With so much experience under his belt, he could very well pull it off.

Steve Nyman, 39

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Jackson, Wyoming native Steve Nyman lives for his time in the mountains. Even when he isn’t competing as an alpine skier, as he has done for three previous Olympic Games, he loves spending time just exploring nature with his wife Charlotte and daughter Nell. He started skiing when he was just 2 years old and started racing at eight at Sundance, where he also happened to mow the lawn of Robert Redford, and where his dad was the school snow chief.

While he has not yet won an Olympic medal, the alpine skier is hopeful to make the cut for the 2022 Olympics.

Eric Staal, 37

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When the Canadian men’s hockey team heads to the Olympic Games in Beijing, they are considered strong candidates for the gold. And to think Eric Staal wasn’t actually thinking he would take part in the Games this year, mostly due to Covid-19 restrictions. After all, the 37-year-old saw his career as an NHL player stalled (no pun intended) due to the pandemic, and he told CBC News, “The idea and the goal was initially to get back in the NHL,” as soon as restrictions lifted.

Instead, Staal was called on by Hockey Canada to suit up for his country as a centerman for Team Canada. As the oldest member of the team, Staal was philosophical about the turn of events. "Funny how things work, and how things work out,” he told CBC News.

Lindsey Jacobellis, 36

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When Lindsey Jacobellis first debuted as a snowboard cross competitor at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, she won a silver medal right out of the gate. Since then she has finished in the top five six times in the World Cup championships, and now she has qualified to compete at her fifth Winter Olympics. It’s a legendary run as a snowboarder that began when her older brother, pro snowboarder Ben Jacobellis, introduced her to the sport when she was just 10 years old at Stratton Mountain in Vermont, per Sports Illustrated.

Jacobellis became the first American to win a gold medal at the 2022 Olympics when she won the women’s snowboard cross and snagged a second gold with Nick Baumgartner in the mixed team snowboard cross.

Shaun White, 35

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As impossible as it is to believe that snowboarder Shaun White is 35 years old, it’s true. The legendary snowboarder headed into the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as the oldest person to compete as a halfpipe rider for Team USA ever. He is already a three-time gold medalist, of course, and he has been open about these next Winter Games being his last. (He finished 4th, just shy of a medal.)

He went into the games with high expectations. “Of course, you know, I am a competitor,” he told Essentially Sports. “I would love to win and stand on that podium. You can’t help but hope and dream for the best outcome and maybe find that trick, the day before the event. You never know how it’s going to go down. I mean, look at the last Olympics. I landed a run that I never landed before to win the whole thing, so you never know. I mean, it would mean the world to me to win, wrap up my career with another Olympic gold, but I’m bracing myself for all outcomes and that keeps me in a better headspace.”

Mariah Bell, 25

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Difficult to believe, but Team USA figure skater Mariah Bell is the oldest figure skater to compete in the Winter Olympics women’s singles since 1928, and she is just 25 years old. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native is also the oldest U.S. National Champion in figure skating in 94 years, winning her place in early January. It’s been a long road for Bell to make it to her first Olympics in 2022. She has been skating since she was just 3 years old along side older sister Morgan, who also competes in figure skating.

Bell is coached by former Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, who helps choreograph her numbers for the Olympics to music by Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Celine Dion, he told NBC News. “Our goal is to go there and for her to show that being 25 is amazing,” Rippon said. “That you can be 25, and you can be in the best shape of your life.”

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