Ultimate ChiCom chicanery: Gold-medal gymnasts are underage? Update: More cheating?

posted at 11:55 am on August 13, 2008 by Allahpundit

There’s really no doubt about it and no one’s much pretending that there is. If the photos don’t convince you, read the NYT or LAT or listen to NPR and you’ll find them all citing the fact that records available online show some of the girls to be no older than 14, two years younger than the cut-off for the competition. And frankly, even that seems a stretch. From the Times:

“One of the girls has a missing tooth,” [U.S. coordinator Martha] Karolyi said, suggesting that the gymnast was so young that she lost a baby tooth and had yet to have a permanent one emerge…

Half of the team — He Kexin, Yang Yilin, Jiang Yuyuan — would be under age, according to online sports registration lists in China. The international gymnastics federation, however, said those gymnasts were eligible and that the ages on their passports were correct…

Because China and the United States competed on the same events each rotation, it was easier to notice differences in their body types. The Chinese gymnasts lack curves, have an average height of 4 feet 9 inches and weigh an average of 77 pounds. Deng is the smallest, at 4-6 and 68 pounds. The women on the United States team, generally more muscular and shapely than the Chinese, are an average of 3 ½ inches taller and 30 pounds heavier.

The event in which the Chinese blew the U.S. team away? The uneven bars — perfectly suited, per NPR’s reporter, for smaller, lighter girls. So egregious is this fraud, in fact, that even NBC’s not shying away from it. Watch the exchange below with Bela Karolyi, former U.S. coach and Martha’s husband, talking about how easy it would be for the Chinese to doctor the passports they’re citing as evidence of the girls’ age. The Olympics committee has washed its hands of the matter, declaring they accept the passports as legitimate lest they offend the host, so toss this alongside the 1972 basketball final as another example of a famously corrupt organization looking the other way at malfeasance to accommodate a politically palatable end.

Update: Some of the complaints about cheating are bound to be sour grapes, but drink this in.


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Anyone know if there is a Statute of Limitations on Olympic rule breaking? I know there are some recent admissions of doping from Athens and Sydney. All the girls have to do is wait…

dish on August 13, 2008 at 1:00 PM

While there are some very curvy women from china, (I suppose. Somewhere.)

They’re out there…and some really tall ones too. And I understand what you’re saying; they can be very different from American girls. Still, a full grown woman has certain features that those girls are lacking. A couple of them, I might accept are young looking and maybe their stated age; but not all of them. I would demand a bone test and if even one of them failed to be of age, strip those metals. But I doubt it would happen. The fact we gave them the 2008 games in the face of all of their problems; no one is going to offend them even in the face of blatant cheating.

austinnelly on August 13, 2008 at 1:01 PM

playblu on August 13, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Pretty much. Who wins is a matter of opinion anyways. Now, if all the girls fought over the medals and you had a clear winner; that’d be both more satisfying and more entertaining.

lorien1973 on August 13, 2008 at 1:02 PM

…small stature is the norm in Asia.

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 12:51 PM

True but overall disproportion is not. Many of the Chinese gymnasts have juvenile body proportions and facial bone structures.

Gilda on August 13, 2008 at 1:03 PM

I tried to watch the gymnastics on the tube last night, but couldn’t take it. The Chinese girls are 12, tops, maybe less. And the commentators for NBC said nothing about it.

I haven’t liked NBC’s coverage a little bit. They tried to sell the opening ceremony as the greatest thing on TV ever, but it was deadly boring in fact.

james23 on August 13, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Umm, in case you haven’t noticed, 16 year old girls have these things called breasts. The Chinese girls have clearly not even made the acquaintance of this thing called puberty.

mjk on August 13, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Right. Because Chinese women are famous for their large breasts.

In fact, you hardly ever see flat-chested Chinese women.

Professor Blather on August 13, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Rockmom, check your math. 3 bil seems a bit high.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Wow, all these complaints about pre-pubescent girls gymnastics.

Face it everyone, Olympic level gymnastics has always been about finding girls who haven’t hit puberty yet, as they tend to be more flexible and capable of performing the insane tricks which are now required to win. There has not been a “woman” winning the gold medal in all around in the Olympics since before Nadia. They are all now 17 at most, and they do best if they are 14 or so. The fact that a country like China can blatantly modify passports and get the IOC to smile is not much of a surprise.

The Olympics have never been about fairness or sport. They have been about spectacle since Berlin in 1936, and that will remain as long as they are the traveling spectacle wea re seeing in Beijing.

Shake your head, smile and ignore the whole thing. Its a waste of time to get upset about the obvious corruption of the Olympics. They have had openly corrupt judging for ages and its not going to change just because a few of us post on a board.

mvargus on August 13, 2008 at 1:06 PM

I think half of you are missing this line:

Half of the team — He Kexin, Yang Yilin, Jiang Yuyuan — would be under age, according to online sports registration lists in China.

The question isn’t “if”. They are underage, and the IOC doesn’t care.

Matticus Finch on August 13, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Also, I recall reading that intense sports like gymnastics can push back some aspects of puberty for girls–not sure if that is true.
dedalus on August 13, 2008 at 12:30 PM
That sounds familiar to me as well.

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 12:31 PM
Correct. Lack of body fat, anorexia, among other things, will delay menstruation/puberty.

I had a college roommate that was on the tennis team. She looked 12. She never had a period while I knew her throughout college.

Brat on August 13, 2008 at 12:37 PM

without going into details I was pretty close to an olympic female gymnast. after she stopped competing (around age 22) she started to grow again (both out and up, but thats another story). The physical strain put on them is such that it does keep your body at a stage of younger women. China women cheating or not, I dont know but its not correct to use normal standards to olympic gymnasts as a normal female growth pattern.

CaptainObvious on August 13, 2008 at 1:08 PM

I cannot and did not watch the little slave girls perform their gymnastics routines, and will never call them “amazing athletes.” Harriet Tubman was required to perform feats of strength for her plantation master before she escaped and became the famous Underground railroad conductor. There is no difference between these little girls and Harriet Tubman.

I did watch the sport for a few minutes, because I love gymnastics, but the frozen terror on these little kid’s faces was too much for me to bear.

Yes this is an outrage, but not against the Americans. This is an outrage against all humanity.

bonnie_ on August 13, 2008 at 1:08 PM

The Olympics are so corrupt it’s almost as if they’re being run by the UN…

MB007 on August 13, 2008 at 1:10 PM

Age or not. Americans didn’t deserve gold last night.

lorien1973 on August 13, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I don’t particularly disagree with what you said about the American mistakes.

However, if the ChiComs cheated, then yes, the Americans DO deserve the Gold! Hello?!

catmman on August 13, 2008 at 1:10 PM

I first saw this in the Mens Synch Diving, for easy rated dives the Chinese were getting insane scores. Then onto the Men’s gymnastics, where again the chinese got scores that were blowing away what was being done. It came to a head last night when even one of the announcers stated that the Chinese girl on the balance beam got a much higher score then she should have, stating that the High/Lo score thrown out had a seperation of .8 of a point, it should have been no higher then .4.

Its not hard to believe the Chinese would try to rig this olympics, the “Passports” given to the gymnast were made by the Chinese Government, is it hard to believe they are fake.

Nothing will come of this because the Olympic Federation is as corrupt as the UN, they don’t want to see the US win, hell why Pick China to host the Olympics? Smoggy confused as hell London over NYC?

Rbastid on August 13, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Here’s what I find interesting. I can’t find height and weight data for too many of our girls, but I did find Shawn Johnson’s ht/wt — she’s 16, 4’8 and weighs 90lb. The girl who screwed up was 5’1 and had an unknown weight. I imagine the other girls on our team probably are floating between that 4’8 and 5’2 height range and probably 90-100lb in weight. The chinese girls are like 4’6 and 4’8 and weigh in the low to mid 70-lb range.

So you’re looking at a minimum of a 15 lb average weight difference — yet the teams were only separated by a few points, most of which could be attributed to major errors on the part of the U.S. team. My question, and point being: What, exactly, is the “advantage” the Chinese got from having underage and underweight competitors?

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:17 PM

You guys really need to let this go. Accusing another country of age-cheating is a slippery slope. The US lost, they can’t win every time. They just need to get over it.

Phelps has just won 5 golds, and broke the WR each time. Maybe China can accuse him of being on steroids…

Chudi on August 13, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Jumping to accuse a country of cheating just cuz we lost? Yeah. That’d be bad. I’m with you.

Pointing out the blisteringly obvious truth of what your own eyes are seeing – that some of these girls like 8 or 9 years old, and cannot possibly be 16?

Yeah. That’s kinda different, dontcha think?

Not to mention the fact that this was fully publicized BEFORE last night’s final. Even if China had come in dead last, it’s sort of worth pointing out that they’re using apparent 9 year olds in competition.

Or no? Since they won, we have to be quiet now?

What do YOUR eyes tell you?

Professor Blather on August 13, 2008 at 1:18 PM

True but overall disproportion is not. Many of the Chinese gymnasts have juvenile body proportions and facial bone structures.

Gilda on August 13, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Actually I judge them by looking closely at their faces but its hard to tell because there are no good close-ups of the face. To me, their facial feature, what I can see of them, indicates they are probably the age claimed.

No doubt most American’s that have never traveled or lived in that part of the world would judge them as under 16, but I think the more experienced eye would say there isn’t much of a case for that.

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM

How is it they are allowed to keep their medals without a proper IOC investigation? If this were a doping allegation (another form of cheating) they would be all over it!

davenp35 on August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM

The physical strain put on them is such that it does keep your body at a stage of younger women. China women cheating or not, I dont know but its not correct to use normal standards to olympic gymnasts as a normal female growth pattern.

CaptainObvious on August 13, 2008 at 1:08 PM

The obvious problem with your point, Captain Obvious, is obviously revealed with one look at the American girls: they all LOOK 15-16, just like they should. Shawn Johnson has hips and boobs.

So how come she doesn’t look 8?

Professor Blather on August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM

This reminds me of other days of watching the Olympics when the Soviet bloc judges would give every point they could to their comrades and take away every point they could from the Free World.

INC on August 13, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Our ladies know how they did (both good and bad) and they know whether or not they were the superiour team last night. And in any case, they know they have a victory over the Chinese team in any case – our ladies have lives.

KCSteve on August 13, 2008 at 12:34 PM

This is exactly the point I made to my 10 year old daughter and it was a good learning lesson. She is a competitive skater and is really, really good. I thank God every day that she is not so insane to pursue the Olympic dream. Judging in gymnastics and skating is and always will be under the influence of politics…no matter how many times they try to “fix” or “improve” the judging system. This was proven last night with the balance beam scores.

The cheating really, really sucks though! I agree that it should be investigated and no one should be rewarded for cheating. That being said though, the Americans kinda blew it.

ConMom on August 13, 2008 at 1:24 PM

“There was a two-minute delay, so the world feed could get Alicia’s routine into the world feed,” USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny told the Daily News several hours after the event. “That was unfortunate, but it is not unusual. The hold could have had an effect on Alicia.”

Next.

Dave Rywall on August 13, 2008 at 1:24 PM

If Commies weren’t cheating/lying it would be a shock.

Even though the US team came in second, they still get to return to the United States when this is over, and that’s a big win.

These poor Chinese girls are evaluated like specimens at an incredibly young age, tossed into the gymnastic program and undoubtedly have no life other than gymnastics.

I really feel for them – as much as I despise their leaders.

reaganaut on August 13, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Forget it Jake, its Chinatown.

BohicaTwentyTwo on August 13, 2008 at 1:26 PM

What, exactly, is the “advantage” the Chinese got from having underage and underweight competitors?

More agile. They were shorter and had a better center of gravity, which is needed in gymnastics when balance is importance.

terryannonline on August 13, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM

There were lots and lots of close ups of their faces during the live broadcast last night. Saying that they look even 14 years old is a stretch for a couple of the girls.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Actually I judge them by looking closely at their faces but its hard to tell because there are no good close-ups of the face.

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM

There were sure a lot of good, high-def closeups of their faces on TV last night. Another major indicator is relative shoulder width.

No doubt most American’s that have never traveled or lived in that part of the world would judge them as under 16, but I think the more experienced eye would say there isn’t much of a case for that.

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Previously published reports, in the Chinese press and elsewhere indicating that some of the Chinese team members are underage, might very well trump your appeal to personal authority.

Gilda on August 13, 2008 at 1:33 PM

There were lots and lots of close ups of their faces during the live broadcast last night. Saying that they look even 14 years old is a stretch for a couple of the girls.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:32 PM

I haven’t watched any of this on the tube. I was just looking at the pictures that are linked above and they are nearly all far away shots. This is the best one I could find.

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Perhaps America could send Marion Jones and Antonio Pettigrew over to lecture the Chinese on fair play and following the rules.

Dave Rywall on August 13, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Maxx:

Check out the video online over at NBColympics (work filter won’t let me leave link) for a better look.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Don’t forget the Chinese girl fell off the beam as well, then had MANY ‘balance checks’. The American fell off the beam, but the rest of her routine was rock solid. The Chinese gymn[a]st scored .5 higher.
dish on August 13, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Exactly.
Those wobbles, the balance checks should be .05 deduct for each one and I counted 5 they did NOT deduct for. She also had many errors that should have deducted far more than her final score revealed.
The fix IS in.
You simply can NOT discount the mental aspects that the Chinese played on the Americans, including scoring travesties…it can ruin an athlete when they realize even their best won’t be ALLOWED to win.
.
As for the age, there are many long term health reasons they have put in place to protect young girls, but who would expect China to care about its people?

shooter on August 13, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Was Marion Jones ever stripped of her medals? Seems she should have been. And you’re about an hour late with your comment, Dave.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:39 PM

You people need to read up on how gymnastics are judged and how the scores are tallied.

Dave Rywall on August 13, 2008 at 1:39 PM

And am I expected to be surprise that the Chinese are cheating?

Quelle surprise.

johnsteele on August 13, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Yes – Marion has been stripped and is thinking about it in jail at the moment.

That is not to say our Ben Johnson was any less of an as*hole.

Dave Rywall on August 13, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Dave:

Well what do you know, Marion Jones records up to 2000 were annulled by the IOC. I guess she’d make a pretty good showpiece on fair play and what should happen to cheaters after all.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:42 PM

You people need to read up on how gymnastics are judged and how the scores are tallied.

Dave Rywall on August 13, 2008 at 1:39 PM

You need to read up on what a socialist whore the Olympic committee is.

p.s. I fully agreed with you on the degrees/aprenticeship headline thread.

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 1:42 PM

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 12:41 PM

We get it. You specialize in the appearance of young looking “women.” Did you go to school for that? Or do you just go to schools for that?

***

I used to fence in college, and there were all sorts of stories about before electronic scoring how judges from the same country as the fencer would award hits when no other judges saw anything. Then came along the Russian with a trigger in his epee to complete the circuit and score hits with his electronic weapon.

Cheating is older than the Olympics.

Between the cheating, the glamor showcasing for dangerous nations and Mickey D’s giving away food prizes for medal wins…..I choose to avoid the entire circus.

Hening on August 13, 2008 at 12:19 PM

That’s what you really wanted us to know, right?

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Communist pigs cheating??? Who knew????

But they’re our “friends”, remember?

Misha I on August 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Way to try and shift the focus off of the girls age and onto the scoring, Dave. Hardly anyone is arguing that the Chinese didn’t put up a better overall performance last night. You sure seem to be going out of your way to defend cheating.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 1:43 PM

go away troll.

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM

That is not to say our Ben Johnson was any less of an as*hole.

Dave Rywall on August 13, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Dude, Ben Johnson is not one of ours.

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM

go away troll.

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM

You write that yourself? Or did one of your “little buddies” do that for ya?

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Previously published reports, in the Chinese press and elsewhere indicating that some of the Chinese team members are underage, might very well trump your appeal to personal authority.

Gilda on August 13, 2008 at 1:33 PM

It might Gilda. I surely can’t say that everyone of these girls are 16 but some in this thread are saying they are WAY underage (like 9 and 10 years old) and I don’t believe that’s true.

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 1:46 PM

As for the age, there are many long term health reasons they have put in place to protect young girls, but who would expect China to care about its people?

shooter on August 13, 2008 at 1:38 PM

That would seem to imply that we and the rest of the world didn’t care about young girls until the fairly recent age restrictions. China is decades or hundreds of years behind the U.S. in several other areas.

dedalus on August 13, 2008 at 1:46 PM

TRC, lol. The thread won’t be conplete until you call yourself a jerk.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:46 PM

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:46 PM

It’s nothing if not consistent.

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Phelps has just won 5 golds, and broke the WR each time. Maybe China can accuse him of being on steroids…

Chudi on August 13, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Honestly? I am very suspicious about Phelps and a lot of these other swimmers. World records are falling left and right this year by astounding (several second) margins. While people point to the new swimsuit technologies and an increasing emphasis on weight training as a reason why, I’m a bit of an Occam’s Razor man myself… Remember, we had a few swimmers get axed during the Olympic trials this year for doping.

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Remember that story where the woman had a daughter with severe handicaps (basically level of an infant). As she grew and got bigger they were going to give her some kind of hormone that prevented her from ever reaching puberty and basically growing so that she would be easier for the mother to care for.

I wouldn’t put it past the Chinese to do something like that to these girls.

That being said they were awesome.

Also, this age rule is moronic. All of these kids, including Americans, start training at a very young age. Average is 3-6. Postponing competition until 16 doesn’t negate the years of abuse their little body’s take. I say their should be no age restriction.

mrsmwp on August 13, 2008 at 1:50 PM

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM

His secret is out:

Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase “Breakfast of Champions” by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes. At lunch, Phelps gobbles up ….

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM

I think they get tested every day they’re there. I’m sure the suit is part of it also. As for Phelps, he didn’t start weight training until after Greece, because they didn’t want to risk injury to his still growing body.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:51 PM

TRC, lol. The thread won’t be conplete until you call yourself a jerk.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:46 PM

We don’t know what you’re talking about.

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 1:52 PM

go away troll.

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM

wise_man, you have not been paying attention.

The Race Card is not a troll. He’s one of the smartest commenters around here. Step back and read more, or try to understand more, before making such an inept comment, which you can never take back. You really need to wise up. I mean that with the best of intentions for you. You have the right intentions, but you apply the wrong tools, with limited or not well thought through information.

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 1:52 PM

The Race Card is not a troll. He’s one of the smartest commenters around here.
Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 1:52 PM

We get it. You specialize in the appearance of young looking “women.” Did you go to school for that? Or do you just go to schools for that?
The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Oh, I see. So when he called me a pedophile, that was just a joke, right?

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:55 PM

Who’s this collective ‘we’? I was referencing the recent thread where you attacked yourself a half dozen times, but maybe that was someone ‘else’.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:55 PM

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM

It’s in the water…actually I’m clueless on topic, but just liked saying that.

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 1:55 PM

Then of what value are medals won that way!! Propaganda maybe, for China itself, which is not allowed to know the truth. These have no other intrinsic value. However, it is hard on people who have trained for years and whose chances have been destroyed by the shallow and childish tactics of a childish and shallow country. Perhaps the Olympics have out lived their value?? At least for a time.

jeanie on August 13, 2008 at 1:56 PM

Having spent a considerable time in China teaching English to students ages 10-16, I can say it certainly appears like those girls are considerably underage. Before the story came out I didn’t know about an age cutoff, but it immediately struck me how much younger and smaller the Chinese gymnasts were compared to the Americans.

As for the ChiComs cheating? Paraphrasing someone from earlier–”paging East Germany . . .”

elpresidente on August 13, 2008 at 1:56 PM

wise_man. It was a joke, and a pretty good one too (I don’t lol out loud that often). TRC’s just got a fairly abrasive sense of humor. Not a big deal.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:56 PM

wise_man, no one is harsher on us, or on himself, than The Race Card. You must make an effort to understand him, to fight him hard with facts, or to ignore him.

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 1:57 PM

Sure Johnson and Jones had their medals stripped, but none of the East Germans or Chinese swimmers who doped from the ’70s into the ’90s have had anything taken from them. The East German case is the most egregious, since documentation of the country’s official steroid programs was actually released ages ago.

Justice for Shirley Babashoff!

someone on August 13, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Anyone that believes these girls to be 16 is probably voting for Obama!

sabbott on August 13, 2008 at 2:01 PM

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out the Chicoms added some sort of “element” to the water to make it more bouyant.

Even if they didn’t, the whole pool is designed for faster times. It’s deeper, so the waves that bounce off the bottom don’t have as much of an impact. The pool has extra lanes to buffer the waves on the sides. The lane markers are specially designed, the starting blocks are different.

There are a lot of records falling. When you add in the high-tech swimsuits and the technologically advanced training facilities and techniques, records are bound to fall.

I’m sure they are all receiving supplements as well, I’m sure the list of banned substances grows every year.

This is why it’s hard to get too excited about the Olympics anymore. Most of them are professionals in every sense of the word. There is also a huge number of “foreign” athletes who live and train in the US, what’s the point?

It’s more like a robot convention – which team of scientists have created the best athlete?

reaganaut on August 13, 2008 at 2:02 PM

One more thing for Dave Rywall, if he stumbles back into the Lion’s Den: Jones was an individual caught cheating. The Chinese gymnasts is institutionalized by the Chinese govt/olympic committee itself. There’s a big difference.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 2:03 PM

Anyone that believes these girls to be 16 is probably voting for Obama!

sabbott on August 13, 2008 at 2:01 PM

They could only be this tiny at 16 if they were from North Korea. It’s harsh, but true, sadly.

How the Olympic committee lets this go is beyond comprehension, unless one knows what a sozi/commie nest they are.

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 2:03 PM

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Phelps has volunteered for a rigorous series of drug tests. He and several others including Torrez (sp?) knew that they would be accused of doping so they are tested more often than the other athletes.

Aggie85 on August 13, 2008 at 2:05 PM

I watched female gymnastics last night. I don’t believe that there’s any question that at least a couple of the Chinese girls have not reached the ripe old age of 16. Birth certificates have been “discovered” to be fake, owing to the completely authentic passports. I’m certain that if the passports said that they were grandmothers, the IOC would say that that claim is authentic as well.

My wife asked what would happen if the Chinese got caught cheating. I told her that in a totalitarian state, such a thing is not possible. If the government says that they’re 16, then by God they are 16.

Let’s be clear on one thing: even though some of the Chinese girls were underage, giving them an illegitimate advantage, they did outperform the US girls last night. If the US hadn’t screwed up (all 3 stepped out of bounds during their floor routines), the US might have been able to win in spite of the underage opposition.

Physics Geek on August 13, 2008 at 2:06 PM

“Yes, we can”, get away with it.

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Oh, I see. So when he called me a pedophile, that was just a joke, right?

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:55 PM

A pedophile? He never said that, but you are the one who keeps claiming that women who look like they’re 10 is normal.

The chinese gymnasts may be underage, and I don’t doubt that. But there is a huge difference between women from America, and women (and men) from the east.

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 12:14 PM

And I didn’t doubt that. I do though doubt that there’s a 30 pound difference between American women and Chinese women.

China women cheating or not, I dont know but its not correct to use normal standards to olympic gymnasts as a normal female growth pattern.

CaptainObvious on August 13, 2008 at 1:08 PM

We’re not. We’re comparing them to other Olympic gymnasts.

Seriously, some of you are doing nothing but stating the obvious.

Yes, gymnasts are generally small and probably don’t have their periods or experience a normal puberty.
Yes, the Chinese are very small.

However, that doesn’t explain a full 30 pound difference or the comment about baby teeth still being present in their mouths.

Also, it’s not just stupid Americans thinking “those kids look really young.” It’s all over the news, even in China, where supposedly they’ve seen Chinese women before (I could be wrong; who knows). And the fact that all they provided were passports should send the final red flag up in the air to anyone who doesn’t have an interest in believing they’re of age.

I say there should be no age restriction.

mrsmwp on August 13, 2008 at 1:50 PM

Sure, why not. Let’s let everyone play. But this year the rule is what it is, and it does give them just as unfair an advantage as steroids (which, while we’re at it, why not allow them as well?).

My question, and point being: What, exactly, is the “advantage” the Chinese got from having underage and underweight competitors?

Outlander on August 13, 2008 at 1:17 PM

You put advantage in quotes as though you think it doesn’t help them. This isn’t like the American snowboarder who got busted for pot (obviously a depressant doesn’t help an athlete), but their lower weight and height does make a serious difference as terryannonline pointed out.

Esthier on August 13, 2008 at 2:21 PM

I think it’s time to start spreading the name “The Bent-Ring Olympics” in honor of all of the bent and broken rules.

KCSteve on August 13, 2008 at 2:24 PM

A pedophile? He never said that, but you are the one who keeps claiming that women who look like they’re 10 is normal.
Esthier on August 13, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Excuse me? What the hell is wrong with you?

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Excuse me? What the hell is wrong with you?

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Not a thing.

Esthier on August 13, 2008 at 2:27 PM

You?

Esthier on August 13, 2008 at 2:27 PM

The obvious problem with your point, Captain Obvious, is obviously revealed with one look at the American girls: they all LOOK 15-16, just like they should. Shawn Johnson has hips and boobs.

So how come she doesn’t look 8?

Professor Blather on August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Im sorry could you please show me where I stated that the chinese didnt cheat, in fact I made it clear that was not what I was saying. But if you want some justification for something I didnt even say how about the fact that asian women have a lesser stature than american women. how about the fact that the chinese take the girls directly from the womb and put them into their gymnasts program where they are forced to train all day everyday for years and nothing else. (this would mean they would be under more physical and mental stress than someone who does it voluntarily incase you want me to elaborate) How about the fact that asian women have been known to do things like foot binding to change their appearance or that the men have been doing things like changing their leg length to compete with other men with regards to jobs.

again this is not an attempt to say they are not cheating or that any of the above is relavent to the chinese womans gymnast teams but it does show that the chinese or any gymnast for that matter can have other forces going on either by choice or by force that change physical makeup. Which was my point.

CaptainObvious on August 13, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Man, wise_man, you can’t catch a break around here these days.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 2:32 PM

I can’t believe all the people here that are defending cheating. Why have any rules at all if they don’t have to be followed? I agree that it’s ridiculous to not allow gymnasts to compete until 16, the age should probably be 13 or 14, but the rules are what they are, and it’s not even an issue whether some of the chinese team are underage – they are.

It’s a red herrig to say the Americans would have lost anyway…maybe they would have, but we’ll never know now because of the cheating. The issue is whether the chinese should be allowed to have a competitive advantage that the Americans don’t have…and a lot of people her seem to think so. Is that the new mentality here? As long as you win, it’s ok if you cheat?

JustTruth101 on August 13, 2008 at 2:33 PM

I’m really surprised they don’t have weight classes for gymnastics. That’d solve a lot of probs.

Iblis on August 13, 2008 at 2:34 PM

The age issue is relatively minor, unless —– the US had gymnasts under the age of 16 who would have made the team, presumably a stronger team, if not for the age limitation. Bela Karoli mentioned that this indeed was the case. (The girls missed by a few months and were not selected.) He recommended removing the age limitation all together.

jerseyman on August 13, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Iblis on August 13, 2008 at 2:34 PM

That’s a novel idea.

Esthier on August 13, 2008 at 2:40 PM

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Swimmers are tested as soon as they get out of the pool. Phelps and Torres have even offered their blood to be stored for future testing.

Squid Shark on August 13, 2008 at 2:45 PM

I’m really surprised they don’t have weight classes for gymnastics. That’d solve a lot of probs.

Iblis on August 13, 2008 at 2:34 PM

they do have lightweight rowing

which by the way they all look sick.

CaptainObvious on August 13, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Squid Shark on August 13, 2008 at 2:45 PM

Thanks.

BadgerHawk on August 13, 2008 at 2:50 PM

The cheating that I’ve seen already is breathtaking. A chinese athlete does a double flip and gets a 7.2 difficulty rating. An American does a trip with a two and a half twist, lands flat on both feet and gets a 5.5 difficulty rating. I don’t know why any athlete would train in a sport that’s subject to judging. You won’t see the Chinese winning much that’s not.

Anyone, including the IOCC, would have to be a complete idiot to think that those Chinese girls are 16 or over.

orlandocajun on August 13, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Alicia Sacramone – mmmm dreamy.

fossten on August 13, 2008 at 3:03 PM

…some in this thread are saying they are WAY underage (like 9 and 10 years old) and I don’t believe that’s true.

Maxx on August 13, 2008 at 1:46 PM

No, I don’t believe that either. I’d guess the youngest is at least 13, probably 14 but young-looking even for that. And undoubtedly very talented. My issues with their ages are with the adults propping them up not with the individual athletes.

Gilda on August 13, 2008 at 3:05 PM

fossten on August 13, 2008 at 3:03 PM

If I were 10 years younger

Squid Shark on August 13, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Oh, I see. So when he called me a pedophile, that was just a joke, right?

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 1:55 PM

I was basically calling you an observer. Many newspapers around the world find great esteem in that label.

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 3:08 PM

Squid Shark on August 13, 2008 at 3:06 PM

If Tony Randall is any criteria, I can wait a coupla years.

fossten on August 13, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Must…resist…pubic…hair…joke…eeeearrrgh.

Wyznowski on August 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 1:52 PM

I will reply to your generous words when I’m done framing my monitor.

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM

How gymnastics are scored:

http://gymnastics.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_new_womens_gymnastics_scoring_system

2 judges on the A panel, 6 on the B panel. Not sure how you yahoos figure the Chinese are rigging the scoring. But please, explain.

Dave Rywall on August 13, 2008 at 3:22 PM

Must…resist…pubic public…hair…joke…eeeearrrgh.

Wyznowski on August 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM

As always, I got your back.

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 3:24 PM

I will reply to your generous words when I’m done framing my monitor.

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Just don’t kiss yourself in its reflection!

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 3:32 PM

Cut them open & count the rings!

daryl_herbert on August 13, 2008 at 3:42 PM

Anyone who thinks the littlest girl is 16 is nuts. Not only is she missing a tooth, she has no evidence of entering puberty. Girls get their periods on average between 11-13 years-old. Prior to their period beginning they have breast development. At 16, if a girl hasn’t begun developing their doctors send them for tests and treatment. That girl is 12 tops or has been put on drugs to stifle her hormone development.

Another girl on the team was so thin whe actually had concave hips. Obviously they’re working her so hard she can’t gain wait or they’re starving her to prevent her from going through puberty.

It’s a sick system where the girls are removed from their homes at 3 or younger to develop them into Olympic gymnasts.

Sensible Mom on August 13, 2008 at 3:45 PM

Entelechy on August 13, 2008 at 3:32 PM

Being more modest than humble, I don’t stare at and kiss myself. However, I do steal many fleeting and quit adoring glances of myself every few minutes.

The Race Card on August 13, 2008 at 3:51 PM

It’s so obvious to tell the Chinese are cheating or getting inflated scores – just watch the different events.

In events which are head to head (those which don’t count on a panel of “Judges”), the Chinese are barely competitive. In events where there is a panel, they are doing extremely well.

It’s almost TOO obvious.

Every sport where there isn’t (or there is very little scoring bias) – basketball, volleyball, swimming – Western nations are doing well if not dominating.

At least that’s what I’ve seen.

catmman on August 13, 2008 at 3:55 PM

I don’t watch the olympics because I believe that the hi-tech uniforms and equipment are tantamount to cheating.

The true spirit of competition is dead. Now it’s just a competition of science.

madmonkphotog on August 13, 2008 at 3:56 PM

There’s no point crying foul now. The U.S., as well as any other country, could’ve formally protested at any time before the games started. Not that it would’ve done any good, because of the IOC’s ridiculous age verification standards. Instead, we decided to ignore it, to be good sports or whatever, and we got burned. We tacitly accepted the Chinese government’s word before the competition that everything was on the square. At this point, all I can say is – congrats to the Chinese girls, congrats to the American girls. They both put in spectacular performances, the Chinese girls’ was just a little more spectacular.

- Should be noted – not only do Chinese women tend to be smaller than American women, but the intense training the ChiComs put the girls through from a young age can delay the onset of puberty. Surely that one girl is under 16, but some of those girls, despite appearances, are probably 16 (and don’t deserve the flack they’re taking).

RightOFLeft on August 13, 2008 at 3:57 PM

Should be noted – not only do Chinese women tend to be smaller than American women, but the intense training the ChiComs put the girls through from a young age can delay the onset of puberty. Surely that one girl is under 16, but some of those girls, despite appearances, are probably 16 (and don’t deserve the flack they’re taking).
RightOFLeft on August 13, 2008 at 3:57 PM

I agree with you. As a matter of fact, I’ve been making similar comments. Hope no one here accuses you of stalking a school, or claiming that you think women who look like they’re 10 is normal. You know, something that you never said. Makes you wonder.

wise_man on August 13, 2008 at 4:02 PM

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