Pint-Sized Phenoms: Golden Teenaged Dreams

Some people just really luck out in the name department. Sixteen-year-old Arielle Gold recently won a bronze in snowboarding at the X Games.

Arielle Gold by Christophe Karabeva for EPA

Seventeen-year-old Gracie Gold came in sixth at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships. But both will be aiming for gold at the 2014 Sochi Olymics.

Gracie Gold at 2013 World Championships by Tom Sczerbowski at USA Today-Sports

They won't be the only teenage stars gunning for gold in Sochi: seventeen-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin (who I've written about before) solidified her position as gold medal-favorite in Sochi when she won the world slalom title last month. [Another fun Pint-Sized Phenom update this month is that Caine Monroy, the nine-year-old cardboard arcade entrepreneur, inked a deal with William Morris!]

While fourteen-year-old racer Kaz Grala won't be able to compete in the Olympics, he is revving his engine for NASCAR, even though he is still quite young. Only an eighth grader he's expecting to go pro soon.

And because we don't want to forget non-athlete pint-sized phenoms, check out first grader Zora Ball. At seven, Zora is the youngest person to create "a full version of a mobile application video game." Perhaps Zora will challenge sixteen-year-old Lauren Marbe, who was just announced as having one of the highest IQs in the world.

Even without "Gold" in their names, it's clear that these pint-sized phenoms have golden futures. It's always amazing to keep track of such impressive kids in a variety of activities... Even if it is humbling!

Pint-Sized Phenoms: The Entrepreneurial Spirit

I suspect that most everyone who applied to college this year was a pint-sized phenom in their own way-- but especially those who made the cut at the most selective schools, which were more selective than ever this year, as I wrote about earlier this week. But you don't just have to be a bookworm to be a phenom, as this month's group of kids prove.  In fact, with an athlete, a chef, and an innovative businessman in this group, they prove that all you need is an entrepreneurial spirit.

1) Winter Vinecki- This 13-year-old is a well-rounded phenom; she's a stellar athlete, student, and entrepreneur who has already been featured in renown publications and has the support from entrepreneurial websites like  This Sunday Winter will embark on an amazing journey: Trying to be the youngest person to ever complete a full marathon on all seven continents.  Why is she doing this (other than, like her fellow Pint-Sized Phenoms, to presumably stand out when it comes time for her college application)? It's for a great cause. Winter is running to help raise awareness for prostate cancer, which took her father's life three years ago. Her nonprofit, Team Winter, has already raised $300,000 for prostate cancer research! While I'm not sure it is always safe for a pre-pubescent girl to run seven marathons, I applaud her willingness and drive to help others, borne out of her own tragedy.

2)Flynn McGarry- Another 13-year-old pint-sized phenom with a memorable name, Flynn was recently profiled in The New Yorker (you can't read the print version online, but you can read the extra about him by clicking on his name). Flynn started cooking seriously at age ten (working his way through The French Laundry Cookbook).  Now that he hosts a monthly pop-up dinner for 17-ish at his home (dubbed "Eureka") for $100 a head he's being homeschooled. Two days a week he interns at a high end restaurant in LA.  One chef declares that his pure palate (untouched by tobacco and alcohol) helps make him so great, but it's clearly a lot of hard work and sacrifice, too. I wonder how long it will be before we all get a taste of Eureka either through a high-end restaurant, a cookbook, or a reality show (or all of the above)?

3) Caine Monroy- In the past few weeks nine-year-old Caine has become an Internet sensation thanks to this short film, Caine's Aracde. Trust me, it's worth taking the ten minutes to watch!

What can you say about Caine except that he is an exceptionally imaginative, innovative, inventive, handy, and entrepreneurial kid?  Can't wait to see what he thinks up next-- beyond cardboard.

Caine, and all of the pint-sized phenoms, will have great stories to tell when it does come time for higher education (both the campus kind and the life kind). Luckily, based on his recent exploits, Caine will also have some money saved away to help afford the best, which he surely deserves.