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 Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?

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Schmiggens

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PostSubject: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:55 am

Scandal of the Ages: Documents Reveal Underage Chinese Gymnast



What began as whispers among the media and gymnastics insiders weeks ago about the ages of three of China's female Olympic gymnasts -- Jiang Yuyuan, Yang Yilin and He Kexin -- has grown into ear-shattering, head-hurting shouts. Despite assurances by Chinese officials that all three are 16, the minimum age of eligibility for Olympic competition, newly discovered documents and records prove otherwise.

The New York Times first looked into the age of China's gymnasts with a story on July 27 that focused primarily on He Kexin, whose birthdate on numerous online records was listed as January 1, 1994, making her 14 when the Games began and ineligible to compete.

When the world was officially introduced to He Kexin this week, even those unwise to the ways of competitive gymnastics could tell that with He, something was not right. At 4-foot 8-inches tall and weighing 72 pounds, the Beijing native appears significantly younger than most of her Chinese teammates much less her American and European counterparts.

The world's foremost expert on female gymnastics Bela Karolyi has routinely referred to the 2008 Chinese team as "half people" and in his contributions to NBC as a commentator during the Games he has railed against the Chinese for engaging in age falsification. After China outscored the U.S. in the qualification round, Karolyi had this to say about the Chinese gymnastics officials:
These people think we are stupid...We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this? They are 12, 14 years old and they get lined up and the government backs them and the federation runs away. There is an age limit and it can't be controlled.
Chinese Olympic officials have forcefully defended He's eligibility, maintaining that when asked, they submitted proper passport documentation to the IOC. He's passport says her date of birth is January 1, 1992, making her 16 and old enough to compete. However, as Karoyli told the AP, "passports mean nothing."

China has a rich history of age falsification in Olympics competition, especially in gymnastics. 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.

What did the IOC have to say about the scandal? President Jacques Rogge said, "The IOC relies on the international federations, who are exclusively responsible for the eligibility of athletes. It's not the task of the IOC to check every one of the 10,000 athletes." Not every one Jacques, but maybe just the ones who look like they're ten.

So, for all of those who are still left unconvinced, I offer a collection of evidence that will demonstrate not only that the Chinese gymnast in question was born in 1994 and underage, but that Chinese officials, over the last few weeks, have systematically tried to cover it all up.

Click on images for full-sized versions

EXHIBIT A: A China Daily article dated May 23, 2008 titled "Uneven-bars queen the new star in town" about He Kexin. This is the cached version (thanks Google) of the article as seen on August 4, 2008.



EXHIBIT B: The same China Daily article dated May 23, 2008 titled "Uneven-bars queen the new star in town" about He Kexin. This is the version currently available online*. As you can see, when compared to EXHIBIT A, everything is identical. Except for one little thing. The state-run newspaper has changed He's age.



EXHIBIT C: A Chinese article written by state-run news agency Xinhua in 2007, and discovered by the great China Digital Times that refers to He Kexin as 13 years old. And though I wasn't a math major, if she was 13 in 2007, then she's 14 this year. Here is an image of the article with a translation from CDT beneath it.

Translation: The thirteen-year-old He Kexin, from Wuhan, met opponent Yang Yilin, who is on the National Team. Amid cheers from her hometown audience, the young girl excellently executed the full set of moves in the finals, and just beat out Yang Yilin, who already had high scores. Lu Shanzhen, the General Coach of the National Gymastic team, also applauded her performance.

EXHIBIT D: An official gymnastics roster dated January 27, 2006 published by the Chengdu government for its City Games, a competition in which He competed. As you'll see from the translated version I have provided, He Kexin's date of birth, according to these government documents, is January 1, 1994.


UPDATE:
EXHIBIT E: A Xinhua (Chinese state media) article* from November 3, 2007 stating clearly that "The Wuhan Team's 13-year-old He Kexin faced off against the National Teams' Yang Yilin in women's parallel bars." Once again, 13 in 2007, 14 in 2008.


UPDATE II -- MORE: The Gateway Pundit has more on the underage gymnast scandal and includes some interesting information on He's teammate Yang Yilin.

*UPDATE III -- BROKEN LINKS: As I had suspected would happen, the links that I provided in EXHIBITS B, D and E, all links to Chinese state newspapers or websites, have been disabled. At the time of publication on August 14th, the links to all sources worked. I found a cached version of the link to EXHIBIT D, which is now in the post above. The original link I used, now disabled, is here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-flumenbaum/scandal-of-the-ages-docum_b_118842.html
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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:00 am

I don't understand how the IOC isn't investigating this. If there was such strong proof that they were using steriods, the IOC would be all over it, but for some reason they don't want to enforce this rule. I don't get it, the IOC either enforces all the rules or none of the rules.

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It's not the task of the IOC to check every one of the 10,000 athletes.

The IOC makes it their business to check all athletes for drugs. They are now keeping all urine samples in storage for 8 years so they can re-test them in the future as more advances in testing become available, that's pretty extreme measures to keep the integrity of the Games intact, but this kind of cheating they don't (won't?) monitor?

I also don't understand why the other gymnast teams aren't making more fuss over it, especially the US team. If it can be proven that China broke the rules, you'd have to imagine that their medals would be revoked, wouldn't the US then be upgraded to gold?
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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:12 pm

What crap. They want to test Phelps (our US swimmer) because he's broken world records, and won a ton of gold medals. But they won't find out if these kids are too young? What BS. Absolute BS! And China wonders why the rest of the world won't trust them.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:54 pm

Absolutely.

If it was another sport, I wouldn't be too bothered... but youth and gymnastics are a good combination. Young people have more elasticity, which is an obvious advantage in the sport.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:36 pm

I don't care WHAT sport it is. This is the Olympics... and if there is an age requirement, they should all have to follow it. PERIOD!

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:04 am

It's not just elasticity (lol, did you mean flexibility?) it's also the weight and height, the smaller the girl, the easier it is to do more & better flips and spins, etc.

If they get away with it this year, then what about the next Olympics? Everyone will be doing it.
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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:24 am

No, I honestly meant they can be stretched and flung around and poke people's eyes out. That's why you shouldn't play with 14 year old Chinese gymnasts.

But yes, everything you said is true.

From what I've been reading the IOC has no 'valid' reason for investigating this. I'm pretty sure they know it's seedy, but the Chinese government has granted the girls passports that say they're 16 years old, so the IOC really can't say much on the issue..

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:46 pm

I thought this thread was about a Chinese gymnast named Too Young.

My bad.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:00 pm

No, I think she's part of the Vietnamese team.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:20 pm

Racist.

-HECK!

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:01 am

Pft... says you, but I've got plenty of Chinese friends. My mate Ho-Lee Fuk comes to mind.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:43 pm

🍣 *Kris sits, eating her sushi (with chopsticks, I might add) watching the fun*

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:56 am

Probe ordered into Chinese gymnast's age
By Simon Denyer

BEIJING (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into allegations Chinese authorities covered up the age of a double gold medal winning gymnast because she was too young to compete.

He Kexin, who won team gold in artistic gymnastics and an individual title on the asymmetric bars, was registered as being born on January 1, 1992.

There have been persistent media allegations that He had competed in earlier tournaments under a later birthdate, and on Thursday an American computer expert said he had uncovered Chinese state documents that proved she was 14 and not 16.

The caption on a photograph published by Chinese state news agency Xinhua last year referred to "13-year-old He Kexin".

An IOC official said the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) had been asked to look into "discrepancies" over He's age, but others stressed He had already been cleared to compete.

"Everything that has been received so far shows we have no problem of eligibility for these competitors," said the IOC's sports director Christophe Dubi, adding FIG had asked the Chinese national gymnastics federation to investigate.

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies added the organization wanted to clear up the matter 100 percent "and put it to rest".

Gymnasts must turn 16 in the year of the Games to take part, and China's gymnastics coach told a news conference all the team "were in total compliance with the age requirement".

"Since Asian bodies are not the same as Westerners', there have been questions, but there shouldn't be," Huang Yubin said.

China has invested billions in selecting and training its athletes from a young age, an effort rewarded by top spot in the medals table, with 46 golds. This has been seen as a sign China has the sporting prowess to match its rising superpower status.

There has been criticism of the system even from within China, though, with one former Olympic medalist saying many children who fail to make the grade are left without sufficient education or social skills.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:59 am

But of course the Chinese national gymnastics federation is gonna flub some sort of inquiry... they'd be labelled traitors if they said "By god, you're right! This girl's only 14!"

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:25 pm

China takes their gymnastics serious though, right? Not to say other countries don't, but I read somewhere that these kids are tumbling since birth. Bred for the Olympics.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:19 pm

Is it a surprise that China has cheated or that the IOC is looking the other way. Yes, there is an inquiry now, but we all know that no one in China will admit the truth. Who would given what they do to people that go agaisnt the government?

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:58 pm

Yeah, in response to HECK!'s comment, I believe at the age of about 4 or 5 they examine girls bodies and decide what kind of sport they'd be suitable for. If they have the perfect bodies, they're put into intensive training for years and years. 12 hour days, 7 days a week.

I'm sorry, but it's like Nazi Germany... worse perhaps.

The sad thing is, I was reading that the age limit was raised so as to protect young athletes... But obviously the IOC doesn't give a toss one way or another on that.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:28 am

Hacker uncovers 'proof' that Chinese gymnast is underage


A determined computer expert has delved into cached pages on the Internet to unearth Chinese official documents showing a gymnast who took gold, edging Britain’s Beth Tweddle into fourth place, may indeed be underage.

Controversy over whether He Kexin, gold medallist in the uneven bars, is under the minimum age of 16 has surrounded her participation in the Beijing Olympics. The latest challenge over the age of the tiny Olympian comes from the discovery through a cyberspace maze of Chinese official documents listing her date of birth.

She certainly does not look as if she has reached the minimum competing age of 16. However China says her passport, issued in February, gives her birthday on January 1, 1992, and the International Olympic Committee has said proof from her passport is good enough.



If incontrovertible evidence that Ms He is underage were to come to light, Britain’s Beth Tweddle, from Cheshire, could edge up from fourth place to bronze medal position in the uneven bars. With the end of the Games just three days away, that now seems unlikely.



The latest unofficial investigation was carried out by 'Stryde', a computer security expert for the New York-based Intrepidus Group, whose site Stryde Hax revealed a detailed forensic search for Ms He’s age.

The blogger first simply tried Google, only to find that an official listing by the Chinese sports administration that had given her age could no longer be accessed. Next he tried the Google cache, only to find that Ms He’s name had been removed.

So then he tried the cache of Chinese search engine Baidu. There, he found that Baidu lists two spreadsheets in Ms He's name, both giving her date of birth as January 1, 1994 – making her 14 years and 220 days old and too young to compete at these Olympics.

The lists were compiled by the General Administration of Sport of China.
Even before anyone arrived in Beijing, American media investigations had accused China of fielding three athletes below the 16-year-old minimum age threshold. Bela Karolyi, the former US head coach, then reheated the issue by claiming that China “are using half-people” and that their flouting of the regulations was so obvious that “these people think we are stupid”.

Nastia Liukin of the US finished second behind He Kexin in the uneven bars final and would be elevated to the gold medal position should the Chinese gymnast be disqualified.

Ms He insists that she is of age. Asked by journalists about the debate, she said: “My real age is 16. I don’t care what other people say. I want other people to know that 16 is my real age.” Asked how she spent her 15th birthday, she paused and then said: “I was with my team. It was an ordinary day.”

Just nine months before the Olympics, the Chinese government’s Xinhua news agency gave Ms He’s name as 13. Officials have since dismissed that report saying Xinhua had never been given her age and had made a mistake.

Stryde, who was later named by the technology news site Information Week as Mike Walker, concludes: “Much of the coverage regarding Kexin’s age has only mentioned ‘allegations’ of fraud, and the IOC has ignored thematter completely. I believe that these primary documents, issued by the Chinese state … rise to a level of evidence higher than ‘allegation’.”

It could certainly make a difference to Britain's Tweddle, who at 23 and relatively old for a gymnast may not be able to compete in London 2012.
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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:29 am

Unfortunately they can blow off the reports and 'proof' with just a 'meh, the media got it wrong.' The IOC is accepting the passport, it seems, and unless someone can come up with real proof it doesn't look anything is going to come of this.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:47 pm

Heaven forbid they make the host country look bad. There is no way China should EVER have been given an Olympics given their human rights records, now the IOC lets them cheat.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:37 pm

I like how the IOC just pretends everything is cool.

I'm absolutely sure some money changed hands.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:13 am

Something changed hands. China is a f'd up country, and I don't believe, for a second, that they are trying to show that they have changed. Please... it's all for face value. Same old shit... different time.

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:07 pm

Funny . China is trying to show the world how they have caught up to the western world with their olympic performance, but by their actions, they are demonstrating that they have a long way to go
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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:30 pm

Actually, I think they're more concerned about the perception within the country. The Government's telling the Chinese people, look... we've lead you to victory at these games... trust us, we won't stear you wrong, you know?

At least that's my perception. If they were concerned about what the world outside China thought, they'd have followed through with more of their promises (that the IOC believe never existed in the first place).

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Gymnasts Too Young?   Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:10 am

I'm with you, Grant... it's the people IN China that they are trying to impress.

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