The Nanjing Youth Olympic athlete bios include a section called “Sporting Achievements.” For one Lithuanian swimmer at the Games, written in that category is “Gold in London Olympic Games.”
Ruta Meilutyte, the reigning Olympic 100m breaststroke champion, is one of the most familiar names among about 3,800 athletes competing at the second Youth Olympics.
How could somebody who won Olympic gold be eligible for the Youth Olympics? Well, Meilutyte stunned in London when she was 15. The Youth Olympics include athletes up to 18 years old.
So, even U.S. star Katie Ledecky, 17 like Meilutyte, is eligible for Nanjing (Ledecky is in Australia for the Pan Pacific Championships next week rather than Nanjing).
Meilutyte is entered in the 50m and 100m breaststrokes in Nanjing, as well as the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
Her world record in the 50m breast (29.48) is nearly two seconds faster than anyone else’s personal best among the Nanjing field. Her world record in the 100m breast (1:04.35) is more than four seconds faster than the field.
The Lithuanian’s march to add Youth Olympic gold to her London title begins on the first day of medal competition Sunday with 50m breast heats and semifinals and the 200m IM heats and final.