Olympic women’s gymnastics median age in 20s for first time in decades

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A decades-long trend in women’s artistic gymnastics will hit a milestone at the Tokyo Olympics.

For the first time since 1968, there will be more non-teens than teens competing.

For the 97* women currently on the entry list, the median age is 21 years on the day of the Opening Ceremony (July 23). That’s a huge jump from 2016, when the median was 19 years, seven months, according to Bill Mallon of Olympedia.org and the OlyMADMen.

Similarly, the mean is at its highest since 1964. The average age for Tokyo is 21 years, 11 months. The average age in 2016 was 20 years, 9 months.

At the 1968 Mexico City Games, the median age was 20 years, 1 month. It dropped to 18 years, 2 months, in 1972. Then it was in the 16s or 17s from 1976 through 2000. It was in the 18s in 2004 and 2008, then the 19s in 2012 and 2016.

ON HER TURF: How Simone Biles can make history in Tokyo

For Tokyo, the U.S. women’s artistic gymnastics team includes more than two non-teens for the first time since 1952 — Simone BilesJade Carey, Jordan Chiles and MyKayla Skinner are all in their 20s. Every member of the team is 18 or older for the first time since 1952, according to Olympedia.

The Magnificent Seven in 1996 had zero women in their 20s, plus a 14-year-old Dominqiue Moceanu who wouldn’t be eligible for the Olympics under new age rules instituted after the Atlanta Games. Gymnasts must now turn 16 in an Olympic year to be eligible.

Internationally, Germany and the Netherlands have no teens on their teams. The last time any nation with a full team roster had no teens was at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Uzbek Oksana Chusovitina, 46, will break her record for most Olympic gymnastics appearances (Tokyo will be her eighth) and the record for oldest Olympic female gymnast that’s stood since 1928, according to Olympedia.

Only three of the other 96 women entered for the Tokyo Games were alive when Chusovitina competed for the Soviet Union at the 1991 World Championships.

*A total of 97 female artistic gymnasts are currently in the Tokyo entry system. A 98th from Argentina — either Martina Dominici, 19, or Abigail Magistrati, 17 — could be entered. Dominici qualified a spot but is listed as suspended by the International Gymnastics Federation after it was reported last month that she failed a drug test. Magistrati would be in line to replace her.

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Birk Irving, last man on Olympic team, extends breakout season with Mammoth win

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One year ago, Birk Irving was the last man to make the four-man U.S. Olympic ski halfpipe team. Since, he continued to climb the ranks in arguably the nation’s strongest discipline across skiing and snowboarding.

Irving earned his second World Cup win this season, taking the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California, on Friday.

Irving posted a 94-point final run, edging Canadian Brendan Mackay by one point. David Wise, the two-time Olympic champion who won his fifth X Games Aspen title last Sunday, was third.

A tribute was held to 2015 World champion Kyle Smaine, a U.S. halfpipe skier who died in an avalanche in Japan last Sunday.

“We’re all skiing the best we have because we’re all skiing with Kyle in our hearts,” Irving said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “We’re skiing for him, and we know he’s looking down on us. We miss you Kyle. We love you. Thank you for keeping us safe in the pipe today.”

Irving also won the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado, on Dec. 17. Plus, the 23-year-old from Colorado had his best career X Games Aspen finish last Sunday, taking second.

The next major event is the world championships in Georgia (the country, not the state) in early March. Irving was third at the last worlds in 2021, then fifth at the Olympics last February.

The U.S. has been the strongest nation in men’s ski halfpipe since it debuted at the Olympics in 2014. Wise won the first two gold medals. Alex Ferreira won silver and bronze at the last two Olympics. Aaron Blunck is a world champion and X Games champion.

Irving is younger than all of them and has beaten all of them at multiple competitions this season.

New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, hasn’t competed since the Games after undergoing offseason knee surgery.

In snowboarding events at Mammoth, Americans Julia Marino and Lyon Farrell earned slopestyle wins by posting the top qualification scores. The finals were canceled due to wind.

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Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Olympic 400m champion, announces pregnancy

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Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the two-time reigning Olympic 400m champion, announced she is pregnant with her first child.

“New Year, New Blessing,” she posted on social media with husband Maicel Uibo, the 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the decathlon for Estonia. “We can’t wait to meet our little bundle of joy.”

Miller-Uibo, 28, followed her repeat Olympic title in Tokyo by winning her first world indoor and outdoor titles last year.

Also last year, Miller-Uibo said she planned to drop the 400m and focus on the 200m going into the 2024 Paris Games rather than possibly bid to become the first woman to win the same individual Olympic running event three times.

She has plenty of experience in the 200m, making her world championships debut in that event in 2013 and placing fourth. She earned 200m bronze at the 2017 Worlds, was the world’s fastest woman in the event in 2019 and petitioned for a Tokyo Olympic schedule change to make a 200m-400m double easier. The petition was unsuccessful.

She did both races anyway, finishing last in the 200m final, 1.7 seconds behind the penultimate finisher on the same day of the 400m first round.

She did not race the 200m at last July’s worlds, where the 200m and 400m overlapped.

Notable moms to win individual Olympic sprint titles include American Wilma Rudolph, who swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1960 Rome Olympics two years after having daughter Yolanda.

And Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, when the mother of two also held world records in the high jump and long jump, two events in which she didn’t compete at those Games.

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