Most people dream of breaking a world record, but the time and energy it takes to do so can mean sacrificing years of your life for something you may not even achieve. Some record breakers, however, don’t put in quite as many years of training as others…
Sure, the feats undertaken by these individuals were impressive, but the icing on the cake was how unbelievably young they were when they performed them. After reading about the world’s youngest Guinness record holders, you’ll be inspired to go break a record or two yourself!
1. Youngest Professional Drummer: After performing his 20th concert (the minimum required by Guinness) in 2009, Michigan native Julian Pavone was dubbed the world’s youngest professional drummer at the age of just four years, 319 days old.
Julian began playing the drums while sitting on his father’s lap at just three months old, and by age 15, he’d played Whisky A Go-Go, the Grammy Museum, and halftime shows. Once, he opened for REO Speedwagon.
2. Youngest RMS Titanic Survivor: Believe it or not, Millvina Dean was just 72 days old when she and her family found themselves aboard the ill-fated Titanic.
Though her mother and her brother also managed to escape the ship, her father was one of the 1,500 individuals that perished in the sinking. In her later years, she became a civil servant and cartographer.
3. Youngest to Climb the “Seven Summits”: After conquering Mount Everest at the age of 13, Jordan Romero went on to become the youngest person to climb the seven highest mountains in the world in 2011.
He was only 15 years old when he reached his final peak, that of Antarctica’s Vinson Masiff. Jordan later wrote a novel for kids called No Summit Out Of Sight.
4. Youngest Solo Artist with a No. 1 Hit: “Little” Stevie Wonder became the youngest solo artist to top the charts in the U.S. with “Fingertips” off his 1963 album Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius.
By the time the song reached number one, Wonder was 13 years, 103 days old. After such a smashing success, this was the last album where Wonder referred to himself as “Little” Stevie.
5. Youngest Solo Row Across Any Ocean: A seasoned competitive rower, British student Callum Gathercole was 20 years, 219 days old when he became the youngest person to solo row across an ocean.
Gathercole completed the 3,000-mile journey from the Spanish island of La Gomera to Antigua in the Caribbean in just 58 days. “It was a brilliant challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed taking on,” he said.
6. Youngest X Games Athlete: In 2012, Jagger Eaton became the youngest X Games competitor in history when he competed as a skateboarder at the age of 11 years, 129 days old. Though he placed 12th, he went on to win the Tampa AM just two years later.
Eaton’s early success made him a positive role model for kids, and as such, Nickelodeon created a reality TV show about his life called Jagger Eaton’s Mega Life.
7. Youngest Professional Singer: Upon releasing a self-titled album of songs in 2011, Atithi Guatam K. C. of Nepal became the youngest professional singer in the world at the age of three.
At the time of the album’s release, the young singer couldn’t even identify letters of the alphabet! Perhaps even more impressive, at the age of two, she performed live on television.
8. Youngest Oscar Winner: Hollywood’s biggest box-office draw until 1938, Shirley Temple was awarded a Juvenile Oscar in 1935 for her contributions to Golden Age cinema.
The honorary award made the six-year, 310-day-old Temple the youngest Oscar winner in history, a record she still holds to this day. Later in life, she went into politics and was appointed the United States ambassador to Ghana and to Czechoslovakia.
9. Youngest Professional Soccer Player: After a video of one-year-old Baerke van der Meij kicking a ball against his toy chest went viral, Dutch soccer club Venlose Voetbal Vereniging immediately reached out.
The club signed him to a symbolic ten-year contract, making him the youngest pro soccer player ever. He signed his contract with a crayon, and he celebrated with a glass of orange juice.
10. Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner: Hailed as “the most prominent citizen” of her home country of Pakistan, 17-year, 90-day-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history.
Yousafzai was recognized for speaking out against the Taliban’s oppression of women and children. To this day, she’s still a leading advocate for human rights around the world.
11. Youngest Professional Director: At the age of just seven years, 340 days old, Saugat Bista became the world’s youngest professional director after releasing his feature-length Nepali film, Love You Baba.
The film stars Saugat’s father, Gajit, and was shot in only 27 days. For his hard work, he won not only the world record, but an “Appreciation for youngest director” award, too.
12. Youngest Billionaire: After being granted a 42.2% stake in her father’s holding company, Alexandra Andresen became the youngest billionaire in the world at the age of 19 years, 236 days old.
As of 2018, Andresen’s net worth is a reported $1.4 billion. Despite the net worth, however, she only buys cars secondhand based on advice she received from her mother.
13. Youngest NBA Player: Andrew Bynum became the youngest NBA player in history when he stepped onto the court for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2005.
The seven-foot center was 18 years, 6 days old at the time and spent the next seven seasons with LA. The all-star’s knees, unfortunately, didn’t hold up, and he exited the NBA mostly due to injuries.
14. Youngest U.S. President: Theodore Roosevelt is remembered for a number of career accomplishments, but not many know that he was also the youngest president in U.S. history.
Following the assassination of William McKinley, 42-year, 322-day-old Roosevelt — who famously approached foreign policy by speaking softly but “carrying a big stick” — was sworn into office.
15. Youngest Formula 1 Driver: In 2015, Max Verstappen became the world’s youngest Formula 1 driver when he debuted at the Australian Grand Prix at 17 years, 180 days old.
Verstappen also became the youngest winner of the Spanish Grand Prix when he took first place just a year later. Over the years, he’s proved himself to be a talented racer!
16. Youngest to Walk on the Moon: 1976’s Apollo 16 mission saw astronaut Charlie Duke become the youngest person to ever walk on the moon. At the time Duke took his first step onto the lunar surface, he was 36 years, 201 days old.
By the end of his long and storied career, Duke had logged over 4,000 hours of flying time, which included 3,632 hours in a jet air craft and 265 hours cruising through space.
17. Youngest Individual Olympic Gold Medalist: During the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, Marjorie Gestring became the youngest competitor to win a gold medal with her performance in the 3-meter springboard.
At the time, Gestring was just 13 years old. Following her impressive victory, she continued to dominate at national championships before failing to qualify for the 1948 Summer Olympics.
18. Youngest Chief Scout: Known as one of the world’s premier survival experts, Edward “Bear” Grylls was named Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories in 2009.
At 34 years, 334 days old, Grylls became the youngest head of the Scout Association in history. Still, he might be best known for all the rather gross things he did in front of TV cameras on Man Vs. Wild.
19. Youngest to Visit Every Nation: At the age of 28 years, 361 days old, British-Italian travel writer Maurizio Giuliano set the Guinness world record in 2004 for the youngest person to visit every sovereign nation.
Giuliano claimed to have traveled at least two million miles over the course of 14 years. No doubt, the amount of stamps in his passport would make even the most world-weary traveler blush!
20. Youngest Male Olympic Gold Medalist: To this day, Japan’s Kusuo Kitamura remains the youngest male Olympic gold medalist with his win at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
One of the youngest members of his team, Kitamura won gold in the 1,500 meter freestyle swim at the age of 14 years, 309 days old. After that year’s Olympics, he retired and joined the Japanese Ministry of Labor.