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The Oldest Olympic Gold Medalists in History

A lot of gold medals with yellow ribbons on a silver tray, awards of champions, sport achievements, first place, prize for the winner

The Oldest Olympic Gold Medalists in History

Qualifying to be in the Olympics is a huge accomplishment for any athlete, no matter their age. However, there’s something incredible about being one of the youngest or oldest Olympians. When it comes to the oldest Olympic Gold Medalists in history, it goes to show that your age doesn’t have to hold you back from fulfilling your dreams.

The oldest athlete to win an Olympic Gold Medal in history is Oscar Swahn, who participated as an Olympic athlete between 1847 and 1927. Swahn was from Sweden and was an Olympian shooter. He won three gold medals total and when he won his last gold medal, he was 64 years old. Swahn also became the oldest Olympic athlete to ever compete in the Olympics after his last competition.

The age of the oldest Olympic Gold Medalist is a stark contrast to the youngest Olympic Gold Medalist, who was only 13 years old. When it comes to the overall rules of participating in the Olympics, there are no age restrictions although each individual sport has its own regulations.

The next Olympic event is coming up this month with the 2024 Summer Olympics taking place in July in Paris. This year, Olympic Equestrian Mary Hanna will be competing in the Summer Olympics at the age of 69. The Paris 2024 Olympics will be her seventh time competing.

Throughout history, there have been many Olympic athletes who didn’t let their age keep them from competing in this international competition. (After this article, check out The 9 Youngest Olympic Gold Medalists in History.)

To create this list of the oldest Olympians to win a gold medal, 24/7 Tempo consulted numerous sources including Guinness World Records, Topend Sports, and Oldest.org. We also looked at information from the official Olympic website. Here are the 5 oldest Olympic gold medalists in history.

Santiago Lange

Sailing - Olympics: Day 11
Source: Clive Mason / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images
Santiago Lange won an Olympic gold medal at the age of 54.
  • Year: 2016
  • Sport: Sailing
  • Team: Argentina
  • Age: 54

Oldest Gold Medalist in Sailing

Rio 2016
Source: Fast Speeds Imagery / Shutterstock.com
Lange won a gold medal in the Multihull (Nacra 17) during the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Santiago Lange is an Olympic Gold Medalist in sailing. Representing Argentina, Lange won a gold medal in the Multihull (Nacra 17) event at the age of 54. He won this medal during the Rio 2016 Olympics, which was his sixth time competing in the Olympic Games.

In 2014 before winning his gold medal, Lange was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery to remove the cancer. His surgery took place nine months before the Rio 2016 event, where he won his first gold medal. Lange is currently 62 and last competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Joshua Millner

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Joshua Millner was an Irish shooter and officer in the 8th (Militia) Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
  • Year: 1908
  • Sport: Shooting
  • Team: Great Britain
  • Age: 61

Oldest Olympic Gold Medalist for Great Britain

A lot of gold medals with yellow ribbons on a silver tray, awards of champions, sport achievements, first place, prize for the winner
Source: Cherednychenko Ihor / Shutterstock.com
Millner won a gold medal in the Free Rifle Event at 1000 yards during the 1908 Summer Olympics.

Joshua Millner, also known as Jerry Millner, was an Olympic shooter who won a gold medal at the age of 61. In the 1908 Summer Olympics, he won the gold medal in the Free Rifle (1,000 yards) Event, becoming the oldest Olympic Gold Medalist to compete on the Great Britain team.

Millner was from Ireland, but Great Britain and Ireland competed together on the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team.

Lida Peyton Pollock

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Lida Peyton Pollock is the oldest female Olympic Gold Medalist.
  • Year: 1904
  • Sport: Archery
  • Team: United States
  • Age: 63

Oldest Female Olympic Gold Medalist

Source: Photo by Topical Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The 1908 Summer Olympics also featured Women’s Archery.

Lida Peyton Pollock, also known as Eliza Pollock, was an American Olympian who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics. Pollock was an Olympic archer from the Cincinnati Archers. Aside from her gold medal, she was known for always finishing second to fellow archer Lida Howell.

Pollock’s team won a gold medal in the Women’s Team Round, making her the oldest female Olympic Gold Medalist. Pollock was 63 years old at the time of their win.

Galen Carter Spencer

Source: Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Galen Carter Spencer competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.
  • Year: 1904
  • Sport: Archery
  • Team: United States
  • Age: 64

Oldest American to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

Archery Target. High quality photo
Source: master_77 / Shutterstock.com
Spencer’s team won the gold medal in the Men’s Team Round.

Galen Carter Spencer, known as G.C. Spencer, was an Olympic Archer from the Potomac Archers. He competed on the United States Olympic team during the 1904 Summer Olympics. Spencer’s team won the gold medal for the Men’s Team Round while Spencer was 64 years old.

His gold medal in the Team Round event won him the title of the oldest American to win an Olympic Gold Medal. Spencer ended up in the hospital after his Olympic win and died seven days after having surgery.

Oscar Swahn

Source: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Oscar Swahn competed in numerous Olympic events.
  • Year: 1912
  • Sport: Shooting
  • Team: Sweden
  • Age: 64

Oldest Olympic Athlete in History

American Marksmen
Source: Harry Todd/Fox Photos / Hulton Archive via Getty Images
Other shooters who competed in the 1912 Olympics include Arthur Cook (left) and Walter Tomsen (1912 – 2000).

Oscar Swahn was an Olympic shooter from Sweden who competed in numerous Olympic events. During his Olympic career, he ended up winning three gold medals, one silver medal, and two bronze medals. At the age of 64, Swahn competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics and won a gold medal in the Men’s Running Target, Single Shot event.

Although he didn’t win gold in his last Olympic competition, Swahn did compete in the 1920 Summer Olympics at the age of 72, making him the oldest Olympic athlete in history. (Don’t miss the Athletes with the Most Medals Ever From Summer Olympics.)

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