When I first ran across the conflict about the ages of the Chinese Gymnasts, I had a hard time getting worked up about it. While I believe that the Chinese government is cheating, the US women’s team lost the team competition because they screwed up, not because of the cheating by the Chinese.
OTOH, I feel for Nastia Lukin losing out in the Women’s Asymmetric Bars to a 14 year old on a tie-breaker, esp. since the Bars is one of the events where being younger really does make a difference. So I’m glad to see that the IOC is at least pretending to care about the rules:
The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up the true age of their gold-medal winning gymnastics star because she was too young to compete.
An IOC official told The Times that because of “discrepancies” that have come to light about the age of He Kexin, the host nation’s darling who won gold in both team and individual events, an official inquiry has been launched that could result in the gymnast being stripped of her medals.
The investigation was triggered as a US computer expert claimed yesterday to have uncovered Chinese government documents that he says prove she is only 14 – making her ineligible to compete in the Olympics – rather than 16, as officials in Beijing insist is her age.
Mike Walker, a computer security expert, told The Times how he tracked down two documents that he says had been removed from a Chinese government website. The documents, he said, stated that He’s birth date was January 1 1994 – making her 14 – and not January 1 1992, which is printed in her passport
I doubt they’ll have the balls to do anything about it, but I’m still happy to see egg on the Chinese Gov’t’s face.
HT: Tom Maquire