Friday, August 15, 2008

Scandal of the Ages: Documents Reveal Underage Chinese Gymnast

What began as whispers among the media and gymnastics insiders weeks ago about the ages of three of China's female Olympic gymnasts -- Jiang Yuyuan, Yang Yilin and He Kexin -- has grown into ear-shattering, head-hurting shouts. Despite assurances by Chinese officials that all three are 16, the minimum age of eligibility for Olympic competition, newly discovered documents and records prove otherwise.

The New York Times first looked into the age of China's gymnasts with a story on July 27 that focused primarily on He Kexin, whose birthdate on numerous online records was listed as January 1, 1994, making her 14 when the Games began and ineligible to compete.

When the world was officially introduced to He Kexin this week, even those unwise to the ways of competitive gymnastics could tell that with He, something was not right. At 4-foot 8-inches tall and weighing 72 pounds, the Beijing native appears significantly younger than most of her Chinese teammates much less her American and European counterparts.

The world's foremost expert on female gymnastics Bela Karolyi has routinely referred to the 2008 Chinese team as "half people" and in his contributions to NBC as a commentator during the Games he has railed against the Chinese for engaging in age falsification. After China outscored the U.S. in the qualification round, Karolyi had this to say about the Chinese gymnastics officials:

"These people think we are stupid...We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this? They are 12, 14 years old and they get lined up and the government backs them and the federation runs away. There is an age limit and it can't be controlled."

Chinese Olympic officials have forcefully defended He's eligibility, maintaining that when asked, they submitted proper passport documentation to the IOC. He's passport says her date of birth is January 1, 1992, making her 16 and old enough to compete. However, as Karoyli told the AP, "passports mean nothing."

China has a rich history of age falsification in Olympics competition, especially in gymnastics. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, three years after the minimum age was raised to 16 in gymnastics, Chinese gymnast Yang Yun competed and won a bronze medal in the uneven bars (coincidentally this event is also He's specialty). Yang's passport said she was born on December 24, 1984 and turning 16 in the year of the Games, making her eligible. She later confessed in a television interview that she was only 14 at the time of the competition and that she and her coaches had lied about her age.

As in the case of Yang Yun, the existing records prior to the Olympics -- local registries, athletic records and news articles -- were all correct, whereas the documentation she showed Olympic officials to confirm her eligibility proved to be false. It is no coincidence that He Kexin's passport was issued on February 14, 2008, a mere 6 months before the Olympics.

What did the IOC have to say about the scandal? President Jacques Rogge said, "The IOC relies on the international federations, who are exclusively responsible for the eligibility of athletes. It's not the task of the IOC to check every one of the 10,000 athletes." Not every one Jacques, but maybe just the ones who look like they're ten.

So, for all of those who are still left unconvinced, (here is) a collection of evidence that will demonstrate not only that the Chinese gymnast in question was born in 1994 and underage, but that Chinese officials, over the last few weeks, have systematically tried to cover it all up.

Read the full report on the evidence from The Huffington Post HERE
Image - Source

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Blogger toyolbuster said...

This is just pure american sour grapes and sore losers. Why didn't anyone protest or do their so called meticulous investigation before the finals. If you have lost, just be a good loser and don't harp on petty issues such as the 2 years age difference. The americans just can't stomach losing to babies. Pure american chauvinistic propaganda.

3:24 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kopitelp16 said...

Whether its sour grapes or not, I think it's against the Olympic spirit if participants cheat. China has been caught cheating in the opening ceremony, so if this allegation about underaged girls is tru, I won't be suprised. Anyway, the American need to look into their own performance. Losing to babies hurt!

5:14 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Purple Haze said...

Toyolbuster obviously has a gripe about the US and that is his/her perogative. However, don't miss the woods for the trees. Winning or losing is not the point. It is about integrity and following the rules of engagement.

5:50 PM GMT+8  
Blogger toyolbuster said...

You guys are missing the point here. Winning is a recognition of ultimate talent, regardless of age. Yes, rules are rules but in China's issue here its just a speculation about underaged contestants. Why the pomped up propaganda, just like the Tibet uprising coinciding the Beijing Olympic.

You want to know about integrity, lets take a look here. 12 Russian athletes suspended for doping offences within the space of eight days. Spanish Maria Isabel Moreno became the first athlete at the Beijing Games to test positive for drugs. Greece sprinter Anastasios Gousis has been recalled from the Beijing Olympics after failing a drugs test. Why no scandalous news and we are talking about facts and not speculation.

Past Olympic games had Carl Lewis tested positive for banned stimulants at the 1988 Olympic Trials but the U.S. Olympic Committee neither banned Lewis from the Seoul Games nor released the test results publicly. Marion Jones’s conviction for drug scandal admission, Ice skater Tonya Harding’s attempted murder of her opponent. Drug related scandal involving Ben Johnson the Canadian sprinter, and British Dwayne Chambers. Lance Armstrong, winner of seven Tour de France victory, accused of taking performance-enhancing drug before each race. And I have nothing against the americans, its about sportsmanship. I am refering to the sore american losers in the gymnastic event which they were so cock sure of winning but lost to babies.

12:40 AM GMT+8  
Blogger bexe said...

Again all part of the American machinery to discredit China. Americans are the world's most racist people. Sour grapes it is and much more sinister.
The day of the opening, for example, most of their dailies did not headline the spectacle that it was,rather the sex scandal of a Senator hogged their front pages. This says it all.

9:33 AM GMT+8  

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