I'm interested in ladies' gymnastics. I want to see how much the commentators discuss, or if
they discuss, the fact that two of the Chinese gymnasts are possibly only 14 years old.
The Chinese have produced passports saying they're both 16 (you have to turn 16 by the end of the calendar year in ladies gymnastics to compete at worlds and olympics) but these girls are likely not 16. One of the gymnasts is the top scorer in the world on uneven bars. The shit's gonna fly--I hope--if this ineligible gymnast wins. Her name's He Kexin. There's a youtube video of her at a competition last year in which the announcer, speaking Arabic, refers to her as "the 13 year old He Kexin." The other top scorer on uneven bars worldwide is an American girl, Nastia Liukin. She's 18 years old, 5'3" tall. This Chinese girl is much smaller and much lighter. The rules raised the age of eligibility for ladies by one year because the female gymnasts were becoming so tiny (the strenuous training delaying puberty); the temptation to keep them tiny is not good for them and so forth and so on. There's talk of raising it to 18, but for now it's 16.
There are other online listings for events He Kexin competed in before she made the olympic squad, listings stating that she's only 14. There are too many "misprints" here and there saying that she's only 14. Her birthdate has been listed as January 1, 1994 in too many places. Even China Daily, China's English language newspaper, accused this little girl of only being 14. It printed a retraction a few days later, but they may have been "encouraged" to print a retraction. China hasn't produced a birth certificate for her. Only a passport, which states her birthday is January 1, 1992. There's a second girl, Jiang Yuyuan, about whom similar questions have been raised. In all fairness, the second girl may be 16 (there isn't nearly as much evidence on her) but the first girl? Very doubtful she's 16. Gymnasts tend to be small, and Chinese gymnasts particularly so, but she's awfully little. The tinier the gymnast, the more advantage she has. China wants to win really bad since its gymnasts are competing at home, but this is as corrupt as doping. I don't blame the girl. It's not like she can refuse. China is China after all. Other countries can file an official complaint, but they'll never be able to prove it, and supposedly they fear retaliation by Chinese judges underscoring their own athletes. Nice, huh? I can see why people were upset that Beijing was awarded the games.
Chinese gymnasts too young?
But in a speech on Nov. 3, 2007, in the central city of Wuhan, Liu Peng, director of general administration of sport for China, said: ``The 13-year-old uneven-bar gymnast He Kexin, who defeated national team athlete Yang Yilin - she just won the bronze medal in the world championships - has demonstrated her ability.''
To be eligible for the Cities Games where Liu made his remarks, Chinese documents show athletes must be over 13, but under 15. ...
--16 years old?
He Kexin 2008