Friday, August 22, 2008

Were the Chinese gymnasts too young?

This is the controversy just won't go away. Gymnasts must turn 16 in 2008 -- or already be at least 16 -- to compete in these Olympics. But various online and media reports have said that at least a couple of the Chinese gymnasts weren't old enough who competed here, and China's team success with those gymnasts has fanned the flames of discontent.

There are some official-sounding Olympic investigations going on at the moment, and the U.S. contingent is officially welcoming that, saying "an investigation would help bring closure to the issue and remove any cloud of speculation from this competition."

But it sounds like the Chinese have all their documents in order -- passports and so on. And no, it doesn't count for you to watch the Chinese gymnasts on TV and say "they look about 12 years old, don't they?"

Yes, some of them do. And yes, some of it sounds suspicious. But I don't think any medals are ultimately going to end up being taken away from anybody for this.


Reversely said...

Yes, they do look young in comparison to the current older US team. Search photo's of teams from the summer olympics of 1996 and 2000 and compare the faces of the younger US team from those two years and it is not that big a difference. The US team is older this year, which makes for a bigger contrast. Compare a 15 year old picture of Shannon Miller from 1996 to any of the current Chinesse team and you will not see much difference.

Anonymous said...

Shannon Miller was 19 in 1996 and the age limit was also younger then, it changed to 16 in 1997.

The Chinese government even listed the ages of several gymnasts as too young to compete until, magically, this year they issued official government documents saying the girls were born in 1992. Now all of a sudden they have miraculously aged 2 years. The official identity documents are issued by the same Chinese government, and hey, if you can't trust them, who can you trust?

Reversely said...

bossmare83, you are correct on the age. I had my years off. I meant to say 1992 and 1996. I also did not realize the age requirment was new and if it had been in place in 1992, the year of Shannon Miller's 5 medals, she would not have been able to participate. Given all of that, I realize my comparison is not valid leaves us all still guessing.

Stephen said...

Remember you can compete in the Olympics if you are 15, BUT you have to turn 16 years of age by December 31st