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As Issei Hori wins Red Bull BC One, we look at other sporting stars to reach the top in their teens.
Issei Hori was the surprise winner of the Red Bull BC One World Final in Nagoya, in his native Japan, following a pulsating battle with two-time winner Hong 10.
Crowned the champion, the 19-year-old’s high energy performances were enough for the judges to give him the honours by three votes to two despite his relative inexperience on the global stage.
But the breakdancing sensation is not the first athlete to reach the upper echelons of his #sport while still new on the scene. We profile other athletes to have made it to the top while still in their teens...
Boris Becker (tennis)
Just 17 and with a game based on serve and volleying, #borisbecker became an instant favourite with Wimbledon fans in the summer of 1985. An up-and-coming player, he won the preceding tournament on grass at Queen’s and, as a result, went into Wimbledon with a global ranking of 20th but unseeded. But in a blistering array of #tennis, he reached the final and became the first unseeded player in the history of the game to win a Wimbledon singles title following a four-set victory over Kevin Curren. He was just 17 years and 227 days, the youngest male Grand Slam winner in history at that time.
Magnus Carlsen (chess)
Chess might not be the most fast paced of sports but Norway’s Carlsen’s rise to the top has been remarkably rapid. A chess prodigy, he was a grandmaster by the age of 13 and 148 days - the third youngest in history - and had made it to No.1 in the world chess rankings before his 20th birthday. Described as the “Mozart of chess”, he remains the dominant force of the #sport having recently won a pulsating encounter over challenger Sergey Karjakin on what was Carlsen’s 26th birthday.
Michael Chang (tennis)
Chang ended his #tennis career with just one Grand Slam singles title to his name, a match he remains synonymous with. At the time, he was just 17 years old when he lined up against world No.1 and three-time French Open winner Ivan Lendl on the clay surface of Roland Garros. Lendl won the opening two sets 6-4, 6-4 only for Chang to hit back and win a near-five-hour epic by 9-7 in the decider. All the more impressive was the fact he suffered such debilitating cramps in his legs that he toyed with retiring from the match and, at one point, had to serve under arm to Lendl.
Kevin Hansen (rallycross)
Seven months ago, Hansen did not even possess a driver licence but the 18-year-old has truly blazed a trail in the #sport of rallycross. The bespectacled racer became the youngest WRX competitor in the sport's rich history when he made his debut just 17 years and six months old. But by 18 he was crowned European Rallycross Champion beating a far more experience field of drivers and was also awarded rookie of the year by motorsport governing body the FIA following on from Max Verstappen the previous year. It's fair to say that, like Verstappen, he was born to go fast on four wheels - his father is the 14-time European Rallycross Champion Kenneth Hansen.
Martina Hingis (tennis)
The Swiss #tennis star rewrote the record books of her #sport in the early part of her career. Aged 15 years and nine months, she became the youngest Grand Slam champion of all time by winning the women's doubles at Wimbledon with Helena Sukova in 1996. The following year, she entered the record books again as the youngest ever Grand Slam singles final winner by beating Mary Pierce in the Australian Open just three months after turning 16. In a season of dominance, she also won that year's Wimbledon and US Open to end the season as the youngest ever World No.1.
Marcus Kleveland (snowboarding)
Already doing double corks at the age of 11, he landed his first quad cork at the age of 16. One of only three #people to have done so - along with Billy Morgan and Max Parrot - he achieved the feat in the relative infancy of his nascent career. There appears to be no stopping his rapid rise to the top: he recently won Air & Style first place in Beijing in mid-November and also has a three-part Red Bull mini series dedicated to him and his quest to the top of his #sport. Discover more about Marcus here.
Lydia Ko (golf)
The Korean-born New Zealand golfer has already crammed a remarkable number of achievements into her career at the meagre age of 19. She first played on the LPGA when she was 14 and astonishingly then made the cut in her opening 53 LPGA tournament appearances. In 2014, a day before her 17th birthday she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential #people. The following year, she won her first major, the Evian Championship, aged 18. That year, she was crowned the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year. She has since won another major, the ANA Inspiration, and won silver at the Rio Olympics in August.
Marc Marquez (motorcycling)
The Spaniard may have just snuck into his twenties by the time he won the first of three MotoGP world titles in 2013 but he had already swept all and sundry aside on the global stage on both 125cc machinery and in Moto2 while in his teen years. He was 17 when he topped the 125cc standings by winning 10 of the season’s 17 races. Two years on, he proved even more dominant in Moto2 as he was crowned champion by 59 points with nine grand prix victories from a possible 16 on the calendar.
Michael Phelps (swimming)
Phelps retired for the second, and final, time after his five gold medals in Rio de Janeiro took his career Olympic tally to an astonishing 23. But it was as a 19-year-old that he first made his mark on his sport’s biggest stage at the Athens Olympics when he eclipsed many of his more experienced peers in the pool to win six gold medals in all: the 100 and 200 metre butterfly, the 200 and 400m medley, and the 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley. Swimming has been flooded with its teen sensations: think Ian Thorpe aged 17 in Sydney or Katie Ledecky with five Olympic golds aged 19, but Phelps has comfortably been the pick of the pool.
Mikaela Shiffrin (skiing)
This season, Shiffrin at the age of 21 is spreading her wings and, for the first time in an already illustrious career, bidding to win the overall World Cup title at the season’s end. But she has long been a feature on the slopes as something of a child prodigy. It was just two days before her 16th birthday that she made her World Cup debut and she clinched a podium at 16. Her first victory came a year later in Are, Sweden, and there were further teen celebrations when she proved victorious in the slalom - her signature #event - with gold at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
Sachin Tendulkar (cricket)
When the ‘Little Master’ retired following a November 2013 Test against West Indies, he had broken what will take some beating: making 664 international appearances and scoring 34,357 runs on the international field of play. No batsman boasts more runs at Test or one-day international level. He made his Test debut aged just 16 years and 205 days in 1989. The following summer, he became the second youngest cricketer in history to make a century - 119 not out - in a Test against England, which saved India from a certain defeat to their hosts.
Rachael Tilly (surfing)
In December last year aged 17, Tilly became the youngest world title winner in longboard surfing history - male or female - when she beat the world’s best in China, an #event she won despite still juggling her school homework. All the more remarkably, she and her Dad had toyed with not going to China altogether in order to enable her to concentrate on her studies for another year but performed a U-turn, which paid off as she achieved an ambition set at the age of 14 to become world champion before leaving high school. Having since graduated from school, she plans to juggle her surfing ambitions with a degree in surgical nursing.
Max Verstappen (Formula 1)
The flying Dutchman has grown accustomed to firsts in Formula 1. When he made his debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix with Scuderia Toro Rosso, at the age of 17 years and 166 days, his critics said he was too young but he became the sport’s youngest ever points scorer at the subsequent race in Malaysia were he finished seventh just two weeks after his debut. Following an early-season switch to Red Bull Racing in 2016, he shaved three years off Sebastian Vettel’s previous mark as the youngest grand prix winner in #f1 history, proving victorious at his first race with the team, the Spanish Grand Prix, aged 18 and 228 days.
Shaun White (snowboarding)
It is for his snowboarding that White has become best known but it is worth noting he is also an accomplished skateboarder, having been taken under the wing of Tony Hawk when he was just 17 with Hawk helping him to turn professional. But already by then, White was a name in snowboarding winning the first of 13 Winter X Games titles when he was just 16 years of age. By his first Winter Games appearance in 2006, he was already the dominant force of the #sport and the red-hot favourite for half pipe gold. He came close to failing to qualify with a dire opening run but recovered and proved untouchable after that.
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