Meet the youngest and oldest Olympians at Rio 2016
Reuters

They may not be in the prime of their careers, but the crop of athletes at both ends of the age spectrum often provide heartwarming moments every four years at the Summer Olympics.

Rio de Janeiro will no different.

Whether they've beaten the odds by entering their first Olympics as a teenager, or are writing the final chapter in their storied careers, age is often an attraction for fans watching inside the stadiums and from home.

Here are a few of the youngest and oldest athletes that will feature at the Olympics this month:

Seasoned athletes

Mary Hanna, 61 (Australia) - Equestrian

Set to become Australia's oldest competing Olympian, Mary Hanna will be 61 when the equestrian competes at the Rio Games. Hanna will look to win her first medal in her fifth Olympics.

Jo Pavey - 42 (Great Britain) - Track and field

Although Jo Pavey expected to retire after competing at the London 2012 Olympics, the 42-year-old will become the first British athlete to perform at the Summer Games for a fifth time when she takes part in the 10,000-meter running event.

Meb Keflezighi, 41 (United States) - Track and field

After a broken hip kept Meb Keflezighi out of the 2008 Games, the 41-year-old marathoner hopes to prove that, even at his advanced age, he can put up a competitive fight - and possibly add to the silver medal he picked up at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Oksana Chusovitina, 41 (Uzbekistan) - Gymnastics

Oksana Chusovitina will defy the odds when she takes part in her seventh (!) Olympic Games in Rio. Entering the event as the oldest Olympic female in the history of gymnastics, Chusovitina, who made her debut on the sport's biggest stage in 1992, will aim to add to her impressive medal collection with a strong showing in Brazil.

Budding stars

Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida, 18 (Brazil) - Archery

Who knows how the pressure of a nation will impact Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida during his Olympic debut as the 18-year-old aims for archery gold. As one of Brazil's best hopes for a medal, the silver medalist at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics will have to rely on his otherworldly focus to block out the cheers of spectators eager to see homegrown talent triumph.

Giarnni Regini-Moran, 17 (Great Britain) - Artistic gymnastics

Not even a bout with the flu could stop Giarnni Regini-Moran from stealing the show at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, where he picked up three gold medals. The gymnast will look to repeat the feat when he faces off against the world's best this month.

Sydney McLaughlin, 16 (United States) - Track and field

America's youngest track-and-field athlete isn't just arriving in Rio for an important lesson ahead of future Olympics. Sydney McLaughlin will arrive in Rio already facing high expectations of capturing her first medal on the sport's biggest stage when she competes in the 400-meter hurdles. The 16-year-old, who turns 17 two days after the opening ceremonies, is also part of a large contingent of track athletes (84) competing in their first-ever Olympic Games.

Kanak Jha, 16 (United States) - Table tennis

While most American 16-year-olds spend their summer vacation getting their driver's license or just having fun until high school resumes, Kanak Jha will spend his break in Brazil, competing for a gold medal. Jha enters the Games as the youngest of the 555 athletes named to the American Olympic team, and the youngest to ever qualify to compete in table tennis.

Gaurika Singh, 13 (Nepal) - Swimming

Michael Phelps and several other athletes were competing at the Olympics before Rio's youngest competitor, Gaurika Singh, was born in 2002.

Although the 13-year-old Nepalese swimmer is not the youngest athlete to compete at the Olympics - that honor belongs to a 10-year-old Greek gymnast who competed and won bronze at the 1896 Games - Singh's gained a reputation for being one of the most generous. She was in Nepal at the time of the earthquake that killed roughly 9,000 people, and donated her winnings from the national championships to a charity formed to help rebuild the country's schools.

Singh will hope to beat Marjorie Gestring's 80-year-old record and become the youngest female to win an individual event when she competes in the women’s 100m backstroke.

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Meet the youngest and oldest Olympians at Rio 2016
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