Decreasingignorance’s Weblog

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Olympic Update August 11, 2008

Filed under: news — decreasingignorance @ 12:50 pm

All I’ve been doing every night is watching the Olympics…and my man Phelps pulled through.  2 golds!  😀 



 Well actually his teammate, Lezek, the final swimmer pulled through.  I went on Youtube to look for a clip but NBC removed all the film footage. -_-

Anyways, moving on.  The Chinese age controversy (from NYT):

The Times found two online records of official registration lists of Chinese gymnasts that list He’s birthday as Jan. 1, 1994, which would make her 14. A 2007 national registry of Chinese gymnasts — now blocked in China but viewable through Google cache — shows He’s age as “1994.1.1.”

Another registration list that is unblocked, dated Jan. 27, 2006, and regarding an “intercity” competition in Chengdu, China, also lists He’s birthday as Jan. 1, 1994. That date differs by two years from the birth date of Jan. 1, 1992, listed on He’s passport, which was issued Feb. 14, 2008.

athlete in question, He Kexin

My Mother, unwavering bastion of China’s honor, snidely said, “Well, I don’t see the point.  There’s absolutely no incentive for China to compete younger girls, no point at all.  So they obviously didn’t.”  The official reason:

An advantage for younger gymnasts is that they are lighter and, often, more fearless when they perform difficult maneuvers, said Nellie Kim, a five-time Olympic gold medalist for the former Soviet Union who is now the president of the women’s technical committee for the Swiss-based International Gymnastics Federation.

“It’s easier to do tricks,” Kim said. “And psychologically, I think they worry less.”

But apparently this has happened before.  North Korea competed a girl, Kim Gwang Suk, in the ’91 World Championships who was only 4’4″ and 62 pounds at the time.  Furthermore, she was missing two of her front baby teeth at the time of competition.  The PRK camp claimed that she lost the teeth in an uneven bars accident “years ago.” 

from village photos

Kim Gwang Suk, from village photos

Bela Karolyi, Mary Lou Retton’s former coach, admits that it is impossible to prove the ages of the athletes:

“It’s literally impossible,” he said. “The paperwork is changed just too good. In a country like that, they’re experts at it. Nothing new.”


One Response to “Olympic Update”

  1. Virginia Says:

    In China, arn’t you a 1 year old the day your born? Or is this a silly thing I heard on a childrens TV show?

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