Photo Credit: LEON NEAL, Getty Images
It’s been a thrill watching Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps assert their dominance in the swimming pool—and we admit, we can’t help paying attention to Ryan Lochte, too. But the drama is no less intense for the competitors at the bottom of the rankings, one of whom, Adzo Kpossi (pictured), took the swimming block as the youngest competitor in the entire 2012 Olympics, at just 13 years and six months old.
Kpossi hails from Togo, a small French-speaking country in West Africa with a population of 6 million. The country won its first Olympic medal in its history in 2008, in the kayak slalom event, and unfortunately it doesn’t appear this year will bring a much bigger yield, but we couldn’t help but smile at the irrepressible attitude of the young teen.
When asked by a reporter if she was excited to be participating in the Games, The Guardian reported that she stamped her foot and responded “No, no, no! I am used to it. I went to the world championships in Shanghai last year, so this wasn't my first time swimming in a big pool." She informed the world that though her part of the country only has one pool, at the Hotel Mercure, she is happy training there and doesn’t need any sympathy from anyone, and ran off giggling to the locker room.
While some sports have age requirements for the Olympics (gymnastics, for example, requires athletes to turn 16 during the Olympic year), swimming does not. Which was good news for Kpossi this year!
Kpossi finished 72nd out of 73 swimmers in the 50-meter freestyle, she managed to shave more than five seconds off of her personal best, so we may just see more of this young athlete in 2016.
Kate Winick is a lifestyle writer, editor, and social media obsessive living in NYC. Follow her on Twitter at @katewinick.