Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

From the pool to the F1 track: Meet some of Britain's youngest ever sports stars

Some of Britain's youngest ever stars in the pool, on the track and at the rink. Credit: PA

Wimbledon has demonstrated wonderfully how experience can be just as important as youth in sport, with veteran Novak Djokovic taking the crown and 15-year old Coco Gauff shining as the tournament's breakthrough star.

It happens every few years in sport; a youngster makes headlines for outperforming the big guns - as it did with Wayne Rooney - and it's about to happen again with 11-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown.

If she qualifies for Tokyo 2020, as she is expected to, she will become the UK's youngest ever summer Olympian, putting her among a glittering list of British sporting greats who started out young.

Here are some of the most notable:

  • Sky Brown
Sky Brown could become Britain's youngest ever summer Olympian. Credit: PA

Skateboarder Sky Brown will become Britain's youngest summer Olympian should she make the plane for Tokyo 2020.

Brown will compete in the quarter-final of the ISO World Championships in Nanjing, China on Thursday with points going towards qualification for Toyko.

Born in Japan to a British dad and Japanese mum, Sky will be 12 years and 12 days old when the Games open, so she will eclipse the current 'summer' record of swimmer Margery Hinton, who was aged 13 years and 14 days at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.

Cecilia Colledge is Britain's youngest ever Olympian ever; she was a tender 11 years and 73 days old when she competed in the women's single skating competition at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

  • 'Young' Tom Morris
'Young' Tom Morris won four Open Championship by the age of 21. Credit: Wikipedia

Tom Morris is widely considered to be one of the pioneers of professional golf.

Born in St Andrews, the 'Home of Golf', his place in history was secured by the age of 21 as he won his fourth consecutive Open Championship.

His first, in 1868, aged just 17, saw him become the youngest ever major winner - a record that still stands.

His father - also a golfer - was known as 'Old' Tom Morris after his son's talents eclipsed his own.

Tom died on Christmas Day, 1875, aged 24, four months after his wife died in labour with their first child.

His death certificate gave the cause of death as pulmonary haemorrhage causing apnea.

  • George Ford
George Ford was the youngest ever rugby player to make a professional debut in England. Credit: PA

England rugby union star George Ford has been a fixture on the international stage for almost a decade - and he's only 26 now.

Ford became the youngest ever player to make a professional debut in England when he turned out for Leicester Tigers in November 2009, at the tender age of 16 years and 237 days.

A fly-half, Ford has represented England at Under-18, Under-20 and full international level.

In fact, he made his debut for the under 18s, aged just 15...

  • Erraid Davies
Erraid Davies won bronze medal in the para-sport 100 metres breaststroke at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Credit: PA

Scotland's Erraid Davies became the youngest ever Commonwealth Games medallist in 2014 when - aged only 13 - she won bronze in the para-sport 100m breaststroke.

Her father, David, has spoken of how Shetland-born Erraid was so restricted in her movement that she could barely walk aged four - so swimming was a welcome option.

She swam her first mile aged six, and went from there.

Her feats came in the wake of Sharron Davies, who represented Britain in the pool at the age of 11, and went to the 1976 Olympics aged 13, and paralympian Ellie Simmonds, who won two golds at the 2008 Games, aged 13.

Now aged 18, Erraid was told two years ago her condition - Perthes disease - was not serious enough to continue as a para athlete.

  • Lando Norris
Lando Norris is the youngest Brit to drive in F1. Credit: PA

Lando Norris has burst on to the Formula One circuit this season, making his debut for McLaren in Australia aged 19 years and 124 days.

While not the youngest ever driver in F1 - that title rests with Max Verstappen who was just 17 when he raced at the Australian Grand Prix in 2015 - Norris pipped former world champion Jenson Button to the claim of being the youngest Brit.

By comparison, current world champ and now six-time British Grand Prix-winner Lewis Hamilton was the grand old age of 22 when he secured his first F1 drive.

  • Tom Daley
A fresh-faced Tom Daley poses with his fellow Beijing-bound Olympians in 2008. Credit: PA

In January 2008, the-then 12-year-old Tom Daley won the 10-metre platform event at the British Diving Championships to become the youngest winner of a senior event.

A couple of weeks later, with synchro partner Blake Aldridge, he became the youngest male medallist at a world diving event.

By the time the Olympic Games in Beijing arrived later that year, Daley was the face of the British team.

Aged 13, he was beaten into the record books as the country's youngest Olympian by a few days by Ken Lester, cox of the rowing pairs in 1960.