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How old do you have to be to break a world record?

There is no specific age requirement to break a world record, as records can be set by people of all ages. However, different record categories may have age divisions or minimum age requirements. Generally, the younger you are, the more impressive it is to break a record intended for adults.

Minimum Age Requirements

While some records have no lower age limit, many do have minimum ages in order to qualify. Here are some examples:

  • The Olympics requires athletes to be at least 16 years old to compete.
  • Guinness World Records has a minimum age of 16 for many human achievement categories like strength records.
  • Most professional sports leagues like the NFL and NBA require players to be out of high school, typically 18+.
  • Certain contests and competitions are limited to adults age 18+ or 21+.

So if you want to break records intended for adult professionals, you typically need to meet the minimum age requirement, usually at least 16 years old.

Age Categories

Many record categories are split into age divisions to allow for fair comparison against your peers. Common age groups include:

  • Under 10 years old
  • 10-12 years old
  • 13-15 years old
  • 16-17 years old
  • 18+ (adult division)
  • 30+
  • 40+
  • 50+
  • 60+
  • 70+
  • 80+
  • 90+

By setting records within your age group, you can be recognized as the best in your age bracket. This allows young children to break records playing alongside peers rather than adults.

Notable Young Record Breakers

While adults hold most major records, some very young individuals have still managed to set impressive benchmarks. Here are some of the youngest record breakers in various fields:

Name Age Record
Jessica Blosil 6 years old Youngest opera singer
Lyandra Blosil 7 years old Youngest professional violinist
Tiger Woods 3 years old Youngest golfer to shoot a 48 over 9 holes
Abby Sunderland 16 years old Youngest person to sail solo around the world

As you can see, even young children are able to set benchmark records and demonstrate extraordinary talent in their fields. Prodigies and child prodigies can gain fame for accomplishing what most adults cannot.

Oldest Record Breakers

At the other end of the spectrum, some records are held by the oldest individuals to demonstrate such skills or achievements. Setting records at an advanced age highlights impressive lifelong dedication and perseverance. Some oldest record holders include:

Name Age Record
John McWhirter 100 years old Oldest competitive runner
Bernice Madigan 101 years old Oldest person to complete a marathon
Dimitrion Yordanidis 98 years old Oldest Olympic medal winner
Tao Porchon-Lynch 97 years old Oldest yoga instructor

Setting records in the upper age brackets highlights that physical fitness and competitive drive can persist well into old age.

Youngest World Record Holders

While exceptions exist, most undisputed “oldest person to accomplish X” records are held by older adults, while “youngest person to accomplish X” records belong to prodigies under 18. Here are some of the youngest record holders ever:

Name Age Record
Buddhini Samarasinghe 4 years old Youngest girl to recite Pi to 15,000 decimals
Judit Polgar 9 years old Youngest chess grandmaster
Aelita Andre 4 years old Youngest professional painter
Rex Chapman 14 years old Youngest NBA basketball player drafted

Child prodigy records demonstrate how early someone can develop elite skills and achievements in fields like arts, academics, and athletics.

Recommendations for Breaking Records by Age

Here are some tips for setting age-related world records:

  • Start young – Develop your talent from early childhood to stand out versus peers.
  • Compare against your age group – Focus on setting records in children’s or youth divisions before taking on adults.
  • Leverage unique skills – Identify and polish rare prodigy abilities valued by record keepers.
  • Train relentlessly – Maintain intense training to stay atop your field as you age.
  • Attempt niche records – Search for specific records in your specialty that are open to being broken.
  • Stay active into old age – Keep fit and continue skill development to set senior citizen records.


In summary, while elite world records are often held by adults, people of all ages can hold benchmark achievements. Minimum age requirements exist for many record categories, but child prodigies and lifetime learners have proven records can be broken from early childhood to old age. Focus on your talents and dedicated training to push the limits of your age group.