12-Year-Old Girl Wins Fly-Casting World Title

Maxine McCormick is now the youngest gold medal winner in the history of world sporting events.

Maxine McCormick practices casting with her father. (Photo: Leah Millis/"The Chronicle")

 

A young girl from San Francisco has become the youngest gold medal winner in the history of world sporting events. Maxine McCormick, 12, won the medal in this year’s World Championships of Fly Casting. She actually tied her own coach, Chris Korich, in the event, with both earning top honors.

“I got shivers,” Korich told the San Francisco Gate. “The ‘Coach and The Kid’ are now double gold medalists. Now we can all breathe. If I don’t get some sleep, I’ll need to go to the hospital for an IV.”

The championship took place Friday in Estonia. More than 65 athletes from 15 countries met to determine who the best fly-caster in the world is, with young McCormick winning the “fly-casting trout accuracy” event. She cast to small rings floating in a pool, trying to be as exact as possible.

The casting championship’s scoring is very different compared to that of most sporting events. Rather than build up points to achieve the best score, athletes start with a perfect score of 80 and are penalized for missed targets. McCormick finished the qualifying round with a score of 66 and the final round with a 63. Korich actually beat McCormick in the final round with a score of 68, but in the championship the two rounds are combined for a total score. With a qualifying round of 61, Korich tied McCormick with a total score of 129 apiece.

Many of the foreign competitors asked McCormick what her secret techniques were, and what “high-tech” fly rod and reel she was using. In truth, Maxine has practiced casting for four hours each week since she was 8; the rod is a 40-year-old, $50 model her coach gave her three years ago.

If history is any indication, McCormick will hold her new title for many years, if not decades. The now second-youngest gold medal winner is believed to be Marjorie Gestring, an American who won the three-meter springboard diving event in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. She was 13 at the time, holding the record of youngest gold medal winner for 80 years.