Olympic gymnastics is a competition filled with youth. The United States 2016 women’s team has an age range of six years. At 16, Laurie Hernandez is the youngest member of the United States gymnastics team. Aly Raisman is the oldest member of the squad at 22.
The United States men has a much older team. The youngest men’s gymnast is older than any of the US women. Sam Mikulak is the youngest player on the team at 23. Captain Chris Brooks is the oldest on the men’s team at 29. Brooks is seven years older than Raisman, the oldest member on the women’s team.
Gymnasts must be 16 years old to participate in the Olympics. Fans may be surprised to learn the age limit was originally even lower.
According to LiveStrong, Nadia Comaneci became the first Olympic gymnast to score a perfect 10 in the 1976 Olympics. At the time, older gymnast were the norm with competitors in the 20 to 30 range.
Comaneci started a trend for countries to look towards younger gymnasts. At the time, the age limit was 14, but concerns began to grow about the impact the competition was having on the younger athletes.
In 1981, the age limit was raised to 15 years old. It was raised again in 1997 to the current minimum age of 16.
Here’s a look at Comaneci’s perfect 10 performance: