Statistics prove that a declining performance happens to athletes and even the greatest ones to play their game. Micheal Jordan is known as one of the greatest basketball players ever to live. In his third year in the NBA, at age 23, Jordan led the NBA in scoring, with an average of 37 points per game. At 39 years of age and in his final years in the NBA, Michael Jordan’s scoring average dropped to 20 points per game.
With the exception of a few athletes such as Lebron James, Manny Pacquiao, Tiger Woods, and Roger Federer who continue to defy the odds, having a youthful body can help when performing at a high level. When an athlete ages, he or she begins to experience drops in performance.
Again, with a few exceptions to the athletes mentioned above, every athlete goes through this phase in their career. Indeed, youth is an essential factor in sports. In due time, these athletes will undoubtedly join the upper echelon of elite athletes in their field. With that said, here are some young, up and coming athletes who are already considered as elites in their sport.
Youngest World Class Athletes
Known as the “Passion,” Joshua Pacio is the reigning ONE FC strawweight champion. At age 23, he currently holds a record of 18 wins and 3 losses. He is known for his submission game, where he uses awkward angles and uses them as leverage points to submit an opponent. Failure to submit to a well-placed submission can result in broken bones and passing out.
Joshua Pacio hails from the Philippines, where he trains in Baguio, one of the best places to train in the country due to the high elevation of the area. His team, Team Lakay, is also full of past champions in Eduard Foloyang, Kevin Belingon, and Honorio Banario.
One of the brightest stars in the NBA right now is a 20-year old from Slovenia. Enter Luka Dončić. At the tender age of 20, Luka is already displaying the passing of elite point guards older than him. He’s also averaging 9.6 rebounds, similar to stronger and older centers in the league.
More importantly, he is very capable of explosive scoring and veteran instinct, comparable to the game’s most recognizable player: Lebron James. Luka Dončić is just starting, and at age 20, it’s terrifying what he can do in the NBA in the years to come.
Kylian Mbappé – 20 years old
At the age of 18, a lot of football experts and players already consider Kylian Mbappé as one of the greatest players in the sport. Kylian Mbappé is an 18-year-old Frenchman who plays in Ligue 1 for Paris Saint-Germain. He is also a player for France’s national team. Kylian is also the youngest player after Pele to score a goal in the World Cup Finals.
His playstyle is full of flashy dribbles. This is a typical style for most football players, but what makes Kylian Mbappé a terror for opposing defenders is that he can end a dribble with a near unstoppable finish. Coupled with his strength are his speed and uncanny ability to lose defenders. Most people consider him as an overpowered version of Thierry Henry, another french soccer legend.
Chloe Kim – 19 years old
When it comes to extreme sports, women aren’t shy about entering and dominating the field. Chloe Kim is a 19-year-old American who’s already a household name in snowboarding. She rose to fame in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. She was destined to win it all but wasn’t old enough to enter. As preparation for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Chloe racked up three gold medals at the X-games.
She further cemented her athleticism as she was able to score a perfect 100 in the X-games, a rare feat in the events. That’s not even the most ridiculous thing she did. Chloe Kim is the first woman to land back to back 1080 spins in Snowboarding. As fate had already decided, Chloe Kim won the gold medal in the half-pipe event in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
When it comes to skateboarding, you never stop hearing about past legends such as Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Bob Burnquist, Rodney Mullen, etc. Today the world of skateboarding is now seeing a surge in young athletes.
However, there’s one eleven, yes you read it right: There’s an eleven-year-old that’s gaining the attention of the skateboarding world. Enter Sky Brown. She is the world’s youngest professional skateboarder. She’s set to compete for the U.K. in the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Sky certainly is a kid, but the tricks she lands are out of this world. Sky is the first woman and likely first kid to land a 720. A 720 is one of the most difficult tricks in the sport. The 720 is a mid air spin composed of two full rotations.
Not only are these athletes exceptionally skilled in their fields, they also know how to present themselves in a professional way. Even if they’re young, athletes like Kylian Mbappé and Luka Dončić wear iconic watches as a sign of professionalism. With youth and talent on their side, these athletes will only continue to grow as icons in their own sport.