In a sport where athletes in their 40s and 50s have won Olympic medals, a 12-year-old girl competed at a world championship last week.
Nathalie Wiksten and her dad, Kasper, made up Denmark’s team at the world mixed doubles curling championship in Lethbridge, Canada.
“We just started [competing] this year for fun,” Kasper said at worlds. “It was supposed to be just a father-daughter thing. And then, suddenly, we qualify for the worlds. So it’s been going really fast. But we love it.”
Mixed doubles makes its Olympic debut in PyeongChang. Worlds in Lethbridge marked the final qualifying event.
The Wikstens did not qualify an Olympic spot for Denmark, finishing 2-5 in group play and failing to reach the 16-team knockout stage.
“We had some disappointing games where it would have been nice to play better,” Kasper said, according to the World Curling Federation. “[Playing with Nathalie], I can’t describe it. I think we have learned a lot, especially Nathalie has, because I think the most import thing for us was to come here and learn something about the mixed doubles game.”
There is no age minimum for curling at the Olympics.
The youngest Olympic curler of all time was German Stella Heiss, who competed at Vancouver 2010 at age 17, according to Olympic historians.
American Erika Brown competed at the 1988 Olympics at age 15, when curling was an unofficial demonstration sport, and again in Sochi at age 41.
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