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

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.