Olympic teenage takeover

Young athletes such as Katie Ledecky and Jordyn Wieber are now representing the United States in various Olympic events.

Graphic by Destiny Gammon

Young athletes such as Katie Ledecky and Jordyn Wieber are now representing the United States in various Olympic events.

Missy Franklin. Aly Raisman. Jordyn Wieber. Katie Ledecky. What do all of these athletes have in common? Each one has yet to graduate from high school. Over the past few years, Olympic athletes have become younger and younger, which has begun to show an increase on the reliance of young adult athletes to compete in many events.

Many new Olympians range from ages 15 to 20, which brings many fresh faces to the wide variety of sports played on the court, field, and in the pool. These new athletes play an important role due to their energy and the United States’ need for energetic athletes that will be able to compete for years to come. This new list of participants was a smart move by the coaches because as athletes such as Michael Phelps become either too old to compete or busy with other life tasks, new athletes need to be available to step up to the plate and compete for the United States’ next gold medal.

The down fall to this use of younger athletes in competitions is the lack of maturity, endurance, and experience. Although many of these teenagers live for their sport, they are still only in high school and there is a chance that they may not appreciate their medal as much as somebody that is older. On top of that, these athletes may not be capable of handling the pressure and long nights that these competitions have to offer, showing their lack of experience while participating in against older athletes in each event.

In my opinion though, these young athletes are fantastic. Their incessant gold medals in all sports ranging from swim to track have enabled the United States to get a leg up in the 2012 Olympics. The “Fab Five” as they are called, or the five young female gymnasts representing the U.S., have gained a large number of fans and are doing routines that I can’t even imagine trying to attempt. It’s their young age and charisma that the United States needed to be better than the rest and to gain it’s well deserved gold medals across almost the entire board.

As a teenager myself, I can honestly say I’m glad that athletes my age are finally getting the attention they deserve in these professional competitions. There is a lot of unspoken talent lurking in the halls of every high school, and the fact that these students have had to opportunity to show the world what they’ve got is fantastic.

Overall though, the use of teenagers has increased the audience of viewers who have shown an interest in the Olympics this year and have proved to the other countries that despite our loss of amazing athletes, we always have many more to offer.