AP: Actual age of underaged Chinese gymnast was reported by … official Chinese news agency

posted at 5:20 pm on August 14, 2008 by Allahpundit

And now, having been caught, er, red-handed, they’re lamely trying to hide the evidence. Too late. Thanks, Xinhua!

Just nine months before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government’s news agency, Xinhua, reported that gymnast He Kexin was 13, which would have made her ineligible to be on the team that won a gold medal this week…

The Associated Press found the Xinhua report on the site Thursday morning and saved a copy of the page. Later that afternoon, the Web site was still working but the page was no longer accessible. Sports editors at the state-run news agency would not comment for publication…

“It’s definitely a mistake,” Zhang [Hongliang, an official with China's gymnastics delegation,] said of the Xinhua report, speaking in a telephone interview. “Never has any media outlet called me to check the athletes’ ages.”

Asked whether the federation had changed their ages to make them eligible, Zhang said: “We are a sports department. How would we have the ability to do that?”

How indeed would an eventual gold-medal gymnastics team overseen by the same government that faked multiple aspects of the opening ceremony to make sure everything went according to script gain such an unfair competitive advantage? Well, funny thing: As noted by both Gateway Pundit and HuffPo blogger David Flumenbaum — each backed up by screencaps — Xinhua’s not the only Chinese news source that reported He was underage. Nor would this be the first time a Chinese gymnast’s records had been doctored to make her eligible. Flumenbaum:

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.

So rotten does this smell, so widely has it been covered, and so suspect is the ChiComs’ ruthlessness that there’s probably no “next step” needed at this point to convince most of the audience that it’s a sham. So much for the regime’s dream of the Olympics burnishing its image. The one move left is for the IOC to investigate, but if they aren’t willing to punish the Iranians for refusing to swim with Israelis, what are the odds that they’re going to confront the host nation with a humiliating scandal? I hope they don’t intervene, frankly. Let them share the grandiose, discrediting embarrassment.


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The underage Chinese gymnasts didn’t bother the Philly Inquirer sports writers one bit. Phil Sheridan basically said, “So what if they did?”

BigD on August 14, 2008 at 5:28 PM

Gymnasts have to be 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible for the games. He’s birthday is listed as Jan. 1, 1992.

What a coincidence…

WisCon on August 14, 2008 at 5:32 PM

I don’t think there’s even a remote chance the IOC will do anything. They have less balls than the UN.

jimmy the notable on August 14, 2008 at 5:33 PM

I still believe the half dozen or so ‘experts’ on what 16 year old Chinese girls look like in the other thread.

BadgerHawk on August 14, 2008 at 5:35 PM

If they’re not going to do anything about this, then they need to get rid of the age requirement so that other nations can compete on a level playing field.

Esthier on August 14, 2008 at 5:35 PM

BadgerHawk on August 14, 2008 at 5:35 PM

Are you saying you believe that all of the girls are actually 16, or that you believe that the commenters are right to say that there’s no way the Chinese girls are 16?

jimmy the notable on August 14, 2008 at 5:36 PM

What a coincidence…

WisCon on August 14, 2008 at 5:32 PM

That’s the other funny thing. You only have to turn 16 during the year of the olympics, so they could have listed her birthday at the end of this year to make it kind of more believable. It’s like when you get a fake ID, you have to list your age as 23 or 24.

BadgerHawk on August 14, 2008 at 5:39 PM

jimmy the notable on August 14, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Option 2. Sorry for the lack of a sarc tag.

BadgerHawk on August 14, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Yep. The IOC doesn’t have the balls to call the chicoms on this. It will be interesting to see how widely this is reported in the MSM. Everyone is so afraid of offending the Chinese it’s ridiculous.

Blake on August 14, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Man, so much whining. Let them cheat, and kick their ass anyway. Supremacy isn’t gained by complaining.

Darth Executor on August 14, 2008 at 5:41 PM

The IOC is a catastrophe – agreed. But at the end of the day, what can they do?

The Chinese will say the girl’s age is 16 and will produce a government passport and a birth certificate saying she’s 16. The documents will be forgeries, but since they’re state-sponsored forgeries, they’ll be indistinguishable from the genuine article. Since China’s a police state, you’re never going to have the right kind of access to comb through the birth records in her home province to discover a “true” birth certificate… I’m not sure there are any scientific tests you could perform on the girl to determine her age (particularly since you’re only talking a two year age gap; it’d be another thing if they tried to pass an 8 year old off as a 16 year old).

So, you’d basically have to say: Past documents the athlete submitted to other competitions identify her as being 14 years old — which contradicts official government documents saying she’s 16 years old. Because we don’t trust the Chinese government, we’re going to accept the past documents as true and are going to say the Chinese lied and forged documents…. But we really don’t have any proof of that besides a gut instinct that they’re lying.

Outlander on August 14, 2008 at 5:41 PM

Nothing will come of this. It’s the Salt Lake City ice dancing competition all over again – the only way this will be resolved is if someone in the know spills the beans. Considering that the girl’s parents are probably “safely” locked away with Kalashnikov’s pointed at their heads, I somehow doubt that we’ll get anyone to confess to He’s true birthdate.

Beo on August 14, 2008 at 5:42 PM

I still believe the half dozen or so ‘experts’ on what 16 year old Chinese girls look like in the other thread.
BadgerHawk on August 14, 2008 at 5:35 PM

*sigh,* You are misrepresenting what some of them said. They didn’t claim to be :experts” on 16 year old chinese girls. What they did say was:

“. With over 3 billion people in China, it’s statistically possible to find 7 girls who are genetically disposed to be tiny and develop more slowly.

and

“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.”

As well as what I said:

“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 14, 2008 at 5:42 PM

I really don’t like the cheating aspect of it, and it doesn’t surprise me a bit that they’re guilty of it. But I keep going back to the fact that these “underage” girls still had to perform. So that should be the incredible part of the story. There was no evidence of judge tampering, so scoring wasn’t faked. If the girls had been stronger “too old” amongst younger girls, there would be a story.
.
For this one I’d have to give the Chinese a pass. To be honest, the Americans had an opening and choked. Complaining too much will leave everyone “not” supporting them…

stacman on August 14, 2008 at 5:43 PM

As I said, these are the “Bent-Ring Olympics” – as crooked as can be!

KCSteve on August 14, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Outlander on August 14, 2008 at 5:41 PM

You could cut her open and count the rings.

/JOKE

Beo on August 14, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Communists lying and cheating, I am shocked!

rbj on August 14, 2008 at 5:47 PM

I’m not sure there are any scientific tests you could perform on the girl to determine her age

Bone age test?

terryannonline on August 14, 2008 at 5:48 PM

Don’t worry. Google with bury search results so no one will find it.

- The Cat

MirCat on August 14, 2008 at 5:49 PM

The issue for the gymnastics competition is whether it is to be among children or adults. For the female of the species, the sport seems to favor children; for the men, adults, as 12 to 16 year-old males do not posses the strength for Olympic-level competition.

But you really cannot have it both ways.

BigD on August 14, 2008 at 5:50 PM

It tarnishes the integrity of the Olympics for all, so the IOC should do something, but yep, they are worse than the UN for lacking cojones.

kirkill on August 14, 2008 at 5:50 PM

They yank the medals of athletes caught using performance enhancing drugs, even if it is years after the event. So, how can they justify punishing some forms of cheating while completely ignoring others?

TheBigOldDog on August 14, 2008 at 5:51 PM

A Godless communist society doesn’t have any moral reason to tell the truth. Just like Russia.

kirkill on August 14, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Don’t worry. Google with bury search results so no one will find it.
- The Cat
MirCat on August 14, 2008 at 5:49 PM

Of course. And if you do an image search for “Tiananmen square” in the chinese google page, all you get is happy tourist photos.

Strange. The US google search for images shows almost every photo result the tank image, or other images of the massacre. And if you do a yahoo image search, only one tank photo. And the rest, holiday snapshots. Really odd.

wise_man on August 14, 2008 at 5:53 PM

I’m surprised NBC has even mentioned it, but when you have Bella doing commentary I don’t think he is easily censored. Funny though, when NBC did their report on all the things you can go out and eat in China, you know, ducks feet, fried scorpion, various entrails…they didn’t mention once that the Chinese made their restaurants take dog off the menu…aren’t edible dogs just as newsworthy as underage Chinese girls? My wife closes our beagles ears everytime I bring up the talk of dog on the menu…she is very sensitive.

b4itsover on August 14, 2008 at 5:53 PM

wise_man on August 14, 2008 at 5:42 PM

Thanks. I was joking, which I should have noted with a sarc tag. It just seemed way too obvious that the girls were underage for anyone to be arguing otherwise.

BadgerHawk on August 14, 2008 at 5:55 PM

“The FIG and the IOC are the proper bodies to handle this.”

Yeah, but they are caught red faced assed.

Entelechy on August 14, 2008 at 5:58 PM

They break the rules, we use steriods. Every team cheats its just the nature of such close competition.

The olympics for the most part are a joke anyway.

TroubledMonkey on August 14, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Man, so much whining. Let them cheat, and kick their ass anyway. Supremacy isn’t gained by complaining.

Darth Executor on August 14, 2008 at 5:41 PM

That’s kinda the problem, they’re the ones kicking ass.

ballz2wallz on August 14, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Age? Who cares? The fact was, we had our chance and choked. it happens. The time to challenge the age was before, not after.

gstrickler on August 14, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Man, so much whining. Let them cheat, and kick their ass anyway. Supremacy isn’t gained by complaining.

Darth Executor on August 14, 2008 at 5:41 PM

But it’s them who believe in “unity” and “collective standards”.

On a serious note, how can one compete, if there aren’t standards? In gymnastics they could just eliminate age as a standard, altogether.

Entelechy on August 14, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Gymnasts have to be 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible for the games. He’s birthday is listed as Jan. 1, 1992.

What a coincidence…

WisCon on August 14, 2008 at 5:32 PM

You are right. Anyone smarter than a ChiCom would of made it Dec. 31 1992. Making her eligible, yet seeming closer to her actual age meaning she would of been only 15, so she may look younger than the rest, that is because she is. But she would be eligible. They are so stupid, they go, when can she be eligible? Jan 1 1992 makes her eligible, OK, make that her birth date.

WoosterOh on August 14, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Man, so much whining. Let them cheat, and kick their ass anyway. Supremacy isn’t gained by complaining.

Darth Executor on August 14, 2008 at 5:41 PM

Since when is it considered whining to talk about open cheating in athletic competitions?

How is this any better than the athletes caught using steroids?

A rule is a rule. If no one cares when they’re broken, then get rid of them, but don’t turn the other way if you want to keep them in place.

Esthier on August 14, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Sorry, forgot to add,…like in skating. I don’t know if there are age lows/highs there…

Entelechy on August 14, 2008 at 6:01 PM

The point is, BadgerHawk, was that they were not arguing the claim that they were underage, as much as they were replying to the statement:

“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.”

Replying to this comment was interpreted by some to be defending the chinese, and that wasn’t the fact.

wise_man on August 14, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Lots of medical testing and assessments can determine age including testing for (lack of better terms) puberty, bone density testing, overall physical assessments, etc. etc

But IOC will never do any of it because they’re a corrupt joke.

mjk on August 14, 2008 at 6:04 PM

Absolutely correct, mjk.

wise_man on August 14, 2008 at 6:05 PM

What is the use of competing if one side is going to move the goal posts? Both sides have to play by the same rules for ‘competition’ to be genuine. Many western businessmen have discovered this the hard way, by losing their investments in China after being tricked.

But let all Americans see the contempt with which the Chinese hold all others in this world. In Chinese they call their country ‘Zhung Gwo’ – the Central Country. Nobody else counts, what to speak of their silly rules.
Learn a lesson now: People only do to you what you let them.

rishika on August 14, 2008 at 6:10 PM

gstrickler on August 14, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Since when is that the standard for cheating? Wasn’t one of our own stripped of her medal for her own cheating?

I’m not saying that this is worse, but I don’t understand why some believe it should be treated differently.

Esthier on August 14, 2008 at 6:12 PM

At this point, I would like to see the IOC to grow some cajones for a change, announce that China’s Women’s Gymnastics gold medals are null and void, award the gold to the United States and fine China for cheating.

I would LIKE to see this happen.

I highly DOUBT it will.

pilamaye on August 14, 2008 at 6:13 PM

The judges are also in the tank for the commies. A Chinese gymnast does a double flip and gets a 7.2 difficulty rating. An American does a double flip with a 2 1/2 twist, sticks the landing and gets a difficulty rating of 5.5.

If it weren’t for judging events, the commies wouldn’t be on the radar screen. I don’t know why any athlete would pursue a sport that’s subjected to judging.

orlandocajun on August 14, 2008 at 6:13 PM

WoosterOh on August 14, 2008 at 6:00 PM

It’s also an easy date to remember in case anybody asks.

WisCon on August 14, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Learn a lesson now: People only do to you what you let them.
rishika on August 14, 2008 at 6:10 PM

Case in point, Georgia. Russia is getting away with it. Pretty soon it’s going to be ‘posession is 9/10ths the law’. The US could launch a formal protest, and force the olympic committee to do something when evidence is presented.

So. Why don’t they.

wise_man on August 14, 2008 at 6:14 PM

I bet that we and other teams had lots of girls that would have been on the teams that are under 16 and that missed the cutoff age limit..

China cheated period, rules are rules and they need to be obeyed and enforced.

Chakra Hammer on August 14, 2008 at 6:17 PM

orlandocajun on August 14, 2008 at 6:13 PM

Ah, but for a 13 year old, a double flip is much harder…oh wait…

jimmy the notable on August 14, 2008 at 6:17 PM

The judges are also in the tank for the commies. A Chinese gymnast does a double flip and gets a 7.2 difficulty rating. An American does a double flip with a 2 1/2 twist, sticks the landing and gets a difficulty rating of 5.5.

If it weren’t for judging events, the commies wouldn’t be on the radar screen. I don’t know why any athlete would pursue a sport that’s subjected to judging.

orlandocajun on August 14, 2008 at 6:13 PM

All the events need to have same total, IF they are gonna keep the system that they have if 16 is perfect then 16 is the highest that you can get for bars, rings, floor, pommel, parallel bars, vault etc.. the way that are doing this is total BS, and they are trying to turn it into an X Games situation.. make 15 or 16 the cap then ALL of the gymnasts can compete and they have to perform perfectly..

having a system where someone can do a “special move” and gets “extra points” but is allowed to screw up bad and only gets a minor deduction and still gets a better score than someone that performs a very hard routine perfectly is just wrong. IMHO a very hard routine that is performed flawlessly should get a better score than someone that shows off and messes up a few time.

Chakra Hammer on August 14, 2008 at 6:24 PM

The American girls screw-ups don’t matter, the Chinese team got high scores for the uneven bars where the smaller, younger girls have an advantage. There is also a fourth place team who might have been bronze medal winners had the Chinese team played fairly.

In the end, the Chinese cheated, everyone knows they cheated and a whole bunch of girls from all over the world got cheated.

Bishop on August 14, 2008 at 6:24 PM

When this Olympics is over, I hope someone breaks down the distribution of medals. I want to see how many objective events (with a demonstrable winner) the USA won as opposed to subjective (judged) events.

My guess is it would be quite interesting.

MikeZero on August 14, 2008 at 6:26 PM

the Chinese team got high scores for the uneven bars where the smaller, younger girls have an advantage. There is also a fourth place team who might have been bronze medal winners had the Chinese team played fairly.
Bishop on August 14, 2008 at 6:24 PM

Yes. I caught what I think was the first day’s broadcast. As the chinese team went to the vault, they mentioned that they couldn’t get the same push back from the spring thing that they jumped off of to the horse. Or whatever that thing was. So that event would be harder for someone smaller and lighter. The advantage would go to the real 16 year old or over.

For other events such as the balance beam, it’s probably less difficult to balance and do the routine when you’re smaller and lighter. Of course you have to train for years, but when you get older and taller, it must become more difficult. Back in 1976 (had to look it up) Nadia Commenich was 14 years old when she got a perfect 10 on the uneven bars. Of course her advantage was also the state sponsored olympic training fromRomania where they groom the girls early and pay for their intense training for the glory of the nation. As is being done in china.

wise_man on August 14, 2008 at 6:28 PM

It just seemed way too obvious that the girls were underage for anyone to be arguing otherwise.
BadgerHawk on August 14, 2008 at 5:55 PM

your right we should always just go with what seems obvious. everything is always what it seems….. pointing out that there may actually be other aspects or circumstances to address, without assigning blame, guilt or a free pass is obviously not acceptable when it just seems so obvious.

I thought that mindset is prevalent on the lib pages. guess it takes all types.

CaptainObvious on August 14, 2008 at 6:29 PM

When this Olympics is over, I hope someone breaks down the distribution of medals. I want to see how many objective events (with a demonstrable winner) the USA won as opposed to subjective (judged) events.

My guess is it would be quite interesting.

MikeZero on August 14, 2008 at 6:26 PM

“subjective (judged) events” IMHO are NOT Real Sports in the Olympics.

Pure Politics.

Chakra Hammer on August 14, 2008 at 6:32 PM

This sour grapes from the US tram is just too much. The US team sucked, and made many mistakes. What the hell do they expect. I don’t care if the Chinese were 2 yrs old, the fact is…they performed their routines perfectly, while our team sucked.

This is really embarrasing.

Chudi on August 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM

This sour grapes from the US tram is just too much. The US team sucked, and made many mistakes. What the hell do they expect. I don’t care if the Chinese were 2 yrs old, the fact is…they performed their routines perfectly, while our team sucked.

This is really embarrasing.

Chudi on August 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Like the Chinese girl falling off the beam was perfect. LMAO

Chakra Hammer on August 14, 2008 at 6:36 PM

Chudi on August 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Maybe we should challenge China to a prepubescent games after the Olympics.

Chakra Hammer on August 14, 2008 at 6:38 PM

Chudi on August 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Yet the American team still came in second. Who’s to say where the Chinese would have placed had they not CHEATED.

Emphasis on the word “CHEATED”.

Bishop on August 14, 2008 at 6:40 PM

One of the simple truths of life, Communists, Fascists, Marxists, Environmentalists and Democrats all lie. Not a dime’s worth of difference between them.

tarpon on August 14, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Xinhua’s not the only Chinese news source that reported He was underage.

–He was underage? Who was underage?

–No, Hu is 19; He is 13.

They’re both on the baseball team: Hu’s on first and He’s on third…

Tzetzes on August 14, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Maybe we should challenge China to a prepubescent games after the Olympics.
Chakra Hammer on August 14, 2008 at 6:38 PM

They would still win because then they would have overage girls competing.

“Chow Yun is seven, really”.

“But she’s on her period, has breasts and got her diploma last year”!

“Nope, see right here on her passport? Seven”.

Bishop on August 14, 2008 at 6:43 PM

If the girls had been stronger “too old” amongst younger girls, there would be a story.
.
For this one I’d have to give the Chinese a pass. To be honest, the Americans had an opening and choked. Complaining too much will leave everyone “not” supporting them…

stacman on August 14, 2008 at 5:43 PM

I think a lot of people are missing the point. Other countries abided by the age rule. That was coach Bella Kyroli’s point that other countries could have had a 14 year old star, but didn’t make the team due to age. A rule is a rule…

Sergei on August 14, 2008 at 6:52 PM

Tzetzes on August 14, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Missed you for your brain :) Welcome back.

Entelechy on August 14, 2008 at 7:03 PM

[wise_man on August 14, 2008 at 6:28 PM]

Yeah, balance beam is harder for the taller and heavier. I think the floor becomes tough on the taller and heavier, too. Many of those on our women’s team had a lot of trouble staying within the lines while the Chinese women were ending their runs with room to spare. Being heavier and taller is somewhat better for the vault but requires being more precise in the landing because of momentum.

The bottom line is that rules are rules. If any Chinese women were underage, they should be disqualified. In a case such as this, with the blatant insertion of two or three of them, the Chinese women’s gymnastic team ought to be banned from participating in the all around in the 2012 Olympics.

BTW, I saw that a Chinese swimmer was disqualified for a false start. I thought they gave the first false start a do over and only began disqualifying after that. When did that change?

Oh yeah, and the NBC announcing? Worst evah! Info graphics? Worst Evah, too. Heck, they can’t even put up the names of the athletes they interview.

Dusty on August 14, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Chudi on August 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM

The point here is that the Chinese cheated.

And, yes, it is cheating to field a team of underage girls. At the point where you’ve done that, it’s irrelevant whether those girls do amazingly well or horribly. The fact is that you are now playing with a different set of rules than the other teams.

If they had a team of 16+ girls and won because their girls were tinier/better/didn’t make as many mistakes/etc I would have no problem with it.

If the other countries were allowed to send girls of any age, and China won because they were still the best, I would have no problem with it.

It’s the cheating that people here have a problem with.

JadeNYU on August 14, 2008 at 7:11 PM

This is what I’m hearing: “Oh, but shouldn’t we be ‘diplomatic’ and ‘cautious’ in dealing with the Chinese? They do have lots of people and guns. We should tread lightly and speak softly when talking about the wonderful Chinese…” You cheat, you lose. What’s the issue? Nothing personal. Nothing political. So, someone tell me again why didn’t we completely boycott these games?
Just wait and see, someone will accuse Phelps of cheating here pretty soon. It wouldn’t be the first time an international sports organization acted in a shady manner (Graeme Obree anyone? Lance Armstrong?)
Then you have Cheng Fei, age 20 (confirmed age.) I recall the commentators saying that she wanted to retire, but her parents wouldn’t let her because she was too valuable as a gymnast for the country and to the family. Gotta love it.
Also, anyone else see the image on Google? If I do recall, the American “Redeem” team put China in a hurt-locker in the first round. A better picture would be an eagle picking up a small snake with its talons with a basketball in its beak.

Send_Me on August 14, 2008 at 7:32 PM

The US team sucked, and made many mistakes. What the hell do they expect. I don’t care if the Chinese were 2 yrs old, the fact is…they performed their routines perfectly, while our team sucked.

This is really embarrasing.

Chudi on August 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Since when does an Olympic silver medal = “sucking?”

You asshat. *You* are really embarrassing. A word only one of us can spell.

Professor Blather on August 14, 2008 at 7:46 PM

I don’t think there’s even a remote chance the IOC will do anything. They have less balls than the UN.

jimmy the notable on August 14, 2008 at 5:33 PM

Wow. That’s, like, negative infinity balls!

aero on August 14, 2008 at 8:05 PM

So much for the regime’s dream of the Olympics burnishing its image

Oh, they’re burnishing their image, just not the way they intended.

Sensible Mom on August 14, 2008 at 8:21 PM

He’s birthday is listed as Jan. 1, 1992.

come on now, everyone knows that you don’t pick Jan 1st for a fake ID birthdate.

Bruce Hendrix on August 14, 2008 at 8:44 PM

I don’t even believe the 14–she looks about 10 to me.

jeanie on August 14, 2008 at 9:18 PM

From the New York Times, August 4:

Registration lists from 2003 to 2006, previously posted on the Web site of the General Administration of Sport of China, said Yang was born on Aug. 26, 1993, which means she will turn 15 later this month. Gymnasts must turn 16 during the year of the Olympics to be eligible to compete in the Games.

On the 2007 registration list, Yang’s birthday changed to Aug. 26, 1992, suddenly making her old enough for the Olympics, The A.P. said.

Chinese gymnastics officials have not yet addressed the question of Yang’s age. Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, said in a news conference Saturday that age eligibility was not an I.O.C. issue, and that the International Gymnastics Federation, known by the acronym F.I.G., is in charge of making sure gymnasts are old enough to compete.

The F.I.G.’s secretary general, André Gueisbuhler, told The A.P. that he would not comment about Yang’s age because he had not seen the paperwork.

reine.de.tout on August 14, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Yep. The IOC doesn’t have the balls to call the chicoms on this. It will be interesting to see how widely this is reported in the MSM. Everyone is so afraid of offending the Chinese it’s ridiculous.

Blake on August 14, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Nope, the IOC won’t do it. I’m sick to death of treading on eggshells and worrying about offending people/countries with no morals who lie, cheat, steal and are human rights violators. These are the people who should be worried about offending us!!!

This sour grapes from the US tram is just too much. The US team sucked, and made many mistakes. What the hell do they expect. I don’t care if the Chinese were 2 yrs old, the fact is…they performed their routines perfectly, while our team sucked.

This is really embarrasing.

Chudi on August 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Sour grapes??? Ring Ring!! Hey Chudi it’s the clue phone for you! They cheated, if anyone should be embarrassed, it should be the ones who cheated. The rules are there for a reason, if one team decides not to follow them, what’s the point in having a competition? I’d be willing to bet money that it’s not just the U.S. who’s upset about the Chinese cheating.

Oh, and a silver medal, in spite of the cheating gold medal winners, does not exactly make a sucky team.

4shoes on August 14, 2008 at 10:28 PM

I had just seen a documentary on the East German female swimmers who were given steroids for the 72 Berlin Olympics (?)… A lot of them were tuned into men! Then last night I saw identical body types in the Chinese swimmers who just blew out the favored Australian… One swimmers eyes were bulging out! I told my husband I’m not watching the Olympics anymore… just a bunch of cheating and political BS… We used to love the Olympics and we watched it as a family…no more…

Bush needs to learn that with the Russians and the Chinese no good deed goes unpunished…

CCRWM on August 14, 2008 at 11:15 PM

But I keep going back to the fact that these “underage” girls still had to perform. So that should be the incredible part of the story.

This is exactly right. This is a WORLD championship. It isn’t like a pitcher who is too old in the little league world series striking all the other kids out. The ‘cheating’ doesn’t have to do with the actual competition because the RULE was not put in place to keep you from having an advantage from age. The age rule is in place to keep girls from being abused and abusing their bodies too early.

It isn’t like they took steroids to make themselves physically ‘more than human’. These girls won world championships against the best in the world. No matter what their age was. The rule they broke isn’t ‘cheating’. The rule is not for competitive advantage. The rule is for the protection of the competitors.

All this bleating about ‘they cheated they should forfeit’ is a bunch of sour grapes. Might she have been born on 1/1 and so it isn’t forgery. They have Yao Ming, so surely they have tiny girls.

Again, the point is these girls were the best in the world without anything but being human. That isn’t cheating. That is excelling. I guarantee you that no other country would have been able to field 13 year olds that were that good regardless of the rule.

ThackerAgency on August 14, 2008 at 11:23 PM

I was a serious (4’10) gymnast until 10th grade. (Now 5’9″) A huge reason that younger is a huge advantage in gymnastics is the issue of injuries. As one goes on in this sport, the injuries accumulate, and that makes it harder to stick landings and so on. By the time you are 18, you have accumulated such cumulative injuries that it is difficult to compete head to head with the younger, lighter, girls. Once upon a time, there was enough dance in FX and beam that style and amplitude was a factor that operated in favor of somewhat older girls, but now the sport so much more technical, skill oriented. Those coaches and participants will not talk about this much, as it does little to promote the sport with parents.

Mary Lou Retton had knee surgery just a week or two prior to her Olympic debut. It was kept secret to avoid the hype and pressure during the games, but I suspect it also didn’t put the best face on the sport.

None of this takes anything away from some amazing performances by the Chinese, but the age IS a competitive advantage from an injury point of view. They stole the gold medal.

skeeter on August 14, 2008 at 11:48 PM

This isn’t Olympics, this is “Chinese Idol.”

Merovign on August 14, 2008 at 11:59 PM

assuming you are right about age being a competitive advantage, is that why they put the rule in place? Did they put the rule in place to keep countries from cheating by bringing in all 10 year olds?

Steroids is cheating because it gives you a competitive advantage and that is why they test for it.

But I guarantee you that if Shawn Johnson or Nastia had gone to the Olympics when they were 14, they wouldn’t have been as good as they are now. The announcers said that the Chinese studied Nastia very closely because she was so GOOD, not because she was young. She got better with age as did Shawn.

They should get rid of the age limit. The world championships should be for the best in the world no matter what so long as there isn’t external influences like drugs or a head start. The Chinese gymnasts are the best gymnasts in the world of any age right now.

ThackerAgency on August 14, 2008 at 11:59 PM

For what it’s worth, many people say that Danica Patrick only wins because she is smaller and weighs less. They never comment on that when she races. I think it’s cheating. They should have a weight rule because weighing less is a competitive advantage when the equipment is nearly identical. . . but to say that makes me a anti-woman bigot in America.

If Danica weighed 50 lbs more, she’d finish last every race.

ThackerAgency on August 15, 2008 at 12:04 AM

I guarantee you that no other country would have been able to field 13 year olds that were that good regardless of the rule. ThackerAgency on August 14, 2008 at 11:23 PM

Jerry Lee Lewis approves.

Mojave Mark on August 15, 2008 at 1:53 AM

Thacker, we don’t have a system where all of our three-year-olds are examined for their abilities, and if they show a special aptitude for gymnastics, we take them from their families and supersaturate their training. So it would be ridiculous to make the statement that a fair playing field would apply if we all used 13-year-olds.

I know! Let’s have a competition where we get an equal number of 10-year-olds and 16-year-olds together on a playground and just run them until they drop. Who do you think will be the last ones standing? Any parent can tell you.

Tennman on August 15, 2008 at 3:36 AM

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.

Just a few weeks ago, the US swim team was striped of one of it’s medals from the Sydney games because one of the members of the relay team admitted in an interview that the team had been doping.

What are the chances that equal sanctions will be applied here?

If you say none, you win the gold medal.

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 7:07 AM

The FIG and the IOC are the proper bodies to handle this

Would that be fig, as in fig leaf?

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 7:12 AM

Let’s make an analogy that most guys would be familiar with.

NASCAR puts restrictor plates on the cars to limit horsepower. There are a lot of fans who disagree with it, but those are the rules that everyone who competes, agreed to abide by.

Now let’s assume that one of the drivers removed his restrictor plate. He wins, but another driver comes within inches of beating him.

Would any one of you declare that since the driver, who followed the rules, almost one, this excuses the driver who cheated?

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 7:14 AM

One of the simple truths of life, Communists, Fascists, Marxists, Environmentalists and Democrats all lie. Not a dime’s worth of difference between them.

You forgot socialist, though that may have been covered under Democrat.

In my opinion, the only difference between a socialist and a communist, is that the communist is being honest about what his goals are.

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 7:19 AM

BTW, I saw that a Chinese swimmer was disqualified for a false start. I thought they gave the first false start a do over and only began disqualifying after that. When did that change?

Earlier in the week they showed a clip of a Korean swimmer who was disqualified in Athens for a false start.
I believe he got a gold this time.

I remember talks of the old days (60′s and 70′s) where swimmers would talk about deliberately false starting in an attempt to ice their competitors. Perhaps that’s why they changed the rule.

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 7:22 AM

I see Thacker is still peddling his rules don’t matter as long as you win philosophy.

I also see that he hasn’t read any of the commentary, otherwise he would know that younger girls do have an advantage.

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 7:27 AM

Man, so much whining. Let them cheat, and kick their ass anyway. Supremacy isn’t gained by complaining.

Darth Executor on August 14, 2008 at 5:41 PM

If only the US was kicking their ass, but at this moment the chinese have 25 golds against the US’ 14. Overall medal counts have the US leading, but lets face it, it’s the gold medals that count.

Aylios on August 15, 2008 at 9:02 AM

Just a few weeks ago, the US swim team was striped of one of it’s medals from the Sydney games because one of the members of the relay team admitted in an interview that the team had been doping.

What are the chances that equal sanctions will be applied here?

If you say none, you win the gold medal.

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 7:07 AM

I’ll take that medal thanks Mark.

Aylios on August 15, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Thacker, we don’t have a system where all of our three-year-olds are examined for their abilities, and if they show a special aptitude for gymnastics, we take them from their families and supersaturate their training. So it would be ridiculous to make the statement that a fair playing field would apply if we all used 13-year-olds.

I know! Let’s have a competition where we get an equal number of 10-year-olds and 16-year-olds together on a playground and just run them until they drop. Who do you think will be the last ones standing? Any parent can tell you.

Tennman on August 15, 2008 at 3:36 AM

That’s exactly right Tennman, the stuff the chinese put their kids through to get them to olympic standards qualifies as child abuse in the west and has done for a long time now.

Aylios on August 15, 2008 at 9:05 AM

Thacker,
Have you ever competed in a sport? Lost to someone who cheated to gain an advantage? If not, Then your posts show you don’t have any idea what you are talking about.
The American girls played by the rules, they deserve to be defended against a team that is breaking the rules. Wrong or right?? In your mind, oh it’s just a little rule, doesn’t affect the competition. Well little rules are still RULES!!!! Cheating, just a little cheating, is still CHEATING!!! Damn!! These girls work for years to get to this point, they deserve better from a bunch of adults who should enforce the RULES of the COMPETITION. Why is that so hard to comprehend. I guess the Chinese are not as perfect as you think. Our girls just won the ALL-AROUND GOLD & SILVER. They also won the TEAM GOLD! USA had the best this year and the Chinese knew it, otherwise why would they even try to use underage girls on their team (CHEAT). If they knew they were the best team, without the underage girls, then why try to cheat by putting them on the team to start with and risk breaking the rules and getting caught. They knew they would not be challenged by the whimps at the FIG & IOC! PERIOD! USA gets the GOLD. Because they DID NOT CHEAT!!!

relpayme on August 15, 2008 at 10:04 AM

come on now, everyone knows that you don’t pick Jan 1st for a fake ID birthdate.

This was an obvious screwup due to someone in China not understanding the calendar that is used. They go by their own calendar (ever walk into a Chinese restaurant not knowing that it was Chinese new year?). As someone else said, they looked at January 1st as her birthday not realizing that was the opposite of what they should have done. Stupid communists.

I had just seen a documentary on the East German female swimmers who were given steroids for the 72 Berlin Olympics (?)… A lot of them were tuned into men!

I saw that too and made a similar comment at foxsports.com or some other site. Most men are envious of their mustaches.

For what it’s worth, many people say that Danica Patrick only wins because she is smaller and weighs less. They never comment on that when she races. I think it’s cheating.

Wow, you’re a real genius, ain’t ya? We’re talking about breaking rules. There is no rule about women drivers or driver weight requirements. I don’t think her weight has had much of an effect anyway. She hasn’t won too many races. I believe her first win was this year in Japan. With all of the horsepower, these cars are so big and fast that 50 pounds would be negligible. If that’s the best you can do, you are out of your league in this debate.

slug on August 15, 2008 at 11:04 AM

For what it’s worth, many people say that Danica Patrick only wins because she is smaller and weighs less. They never comment on that when she races. I think it’s cheating.

If there were a rule in her sport that drivers had to meet a minimum weight requirement (there’s something like this in horse racing), then you would have a point. Since there isn’t, you are just showing yourself off as a clueless twit once again.

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 12:48 PM

There’s a reason why boxers are divided into several hundred weight categories.

MarkTheGreat on August 15, 2008 at 12:49 PM