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.”


TEAM USA! TEAM USA! TEAM USA! August 9, 2008

Filed under: news — decreasingignorance @ 4:29 pm

OLYMPICS!  In my native motherland, The Peoples’ Republic of China.  Good ole’ home.  Nevertheless, I will be enthusiastically cheering on my adopted country, The United States of America.  Go Michael Phelps!  A few days ago, there was a controversy surrounding four US cyclists who arrived at the Beijing airport wearing USOC issued face masks.  This is, of course, very embarrassing for the Chinese government, whom have been closing factories and banning trucks in Beijing to better the air quality. I can understand why the Chinese government is upset, especially since the face masks can’t black the poisones nitrogen dioxide.

Unfortunately, there’s little else athletes — or even spectators — can do to prevent exposure to air pollution.  “You can’t protect yourself with a mask,” Munzer says. “We’re talking about a fine gas, so there’s no really good protection.”

Okay, I’m going to go on a limb here and say this: I don’t think that air quality in China is noticeably bad.  I’ve been in China during the stifling summer months, with nary a blue sky in sight.  While my athleticism doesn’t rival Olympians, but I have gone jogging and rock climbing in China with no breathing problems.  I can understand all the fuss about air quality, but wouldn’t China’s native athletes have problems too?  Why haven’t they contracted any problems? 

Ironically, I am listening to Lily Allen’s fantastic cover of ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky.  😀