Who thinks the Chinese gymnasts are REALLY 16-years-old?

United States
August 15, 2008 6:07pm CST
SERIOUSLY, there's no way! I've read so many articles saying how they're as young as 13! In previous competitions and news reports, they were reported to be born in 1994 - 1995, and touted as the 13-year-old "new star." WHY isn't the International Olympics Committee doing NOTHING to prove their real age? Are they taking bribes? Do they care if the sport looks tainted? It would seem that the girls themselves would want their names cleared if they really ARE of legal age to compete! One of the articles I read was saying that the Chinese gymnasts who won gold in 2000 came forward years later saying that she was only 14 that year. What should be done if it's proven they're not 16? Should they be stripped of their medals? Should China be fined for lying on their passports? What would a reasonable consequence be?
3 people like this
17 responses
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Even if it could be proven that they were under age, I don't think China will do anything about it unless the IOC pushes the issue. I looked closely at all those girls and every last one looked younger than 16. Someone from China had made mention that all Chinese people look younger than they really are. Now I could see that if there was one girl on the team that looked younger than she was, but all of them? I wonder what the Chinese have been drinking? DCMerkle
2 people like this
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
I don't know if it the first time you pay attention to Chinese carefully. Perhaps you have not seen a Chinese around. But now you have say a lot as you are an expert of Chinese. It is known to all that female gymnastics girls should be pretty and cute. You can verity if from gymnastics girls from your country. I am so surprised to see your groudless words and I suspect if you are honest now.
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
17 Aug 08
To the both of I you I most humbly apologize, but here's a question. There was a reporter that went to the girls school where they trained and asked to see the records. She was refused. If China has nothing to hide and why was the reporter not shown the records out of good faith? DCMerkle
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
18 Aug 08
If you are not sure if there is bias to China in your heart you should not apology. No one want a apology without sincerity. It don't show that you are polite. Your dishonest reporters have spread rumor about China too much. Of course in a country with freedom you have the rights to say groudless words or lie. Any shool has a right to refuse a reporter's visit if the reporter can't be trusted and maybe with vicious objective. I don't know if a athlete in your country get a golden medal, the FBI or reporters will check her throughoutly. And you will suspect her because she ever refused a reporter's interview.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
15 Aug 08
The IOC goes by the proof every other athlete provides, their country's passport. All they can say is, it's authentic and we have to believe it. Of course it's an original government issued document. There is no doubt about it, lol. Now, if there is proof beyond doubt, then they may start some proceedings. Unfortunately, some online website article, that's now disappeared, is not enough. Asking for their birth certificates, well, they can issue new ones with the new birthdays, lol. Funny thing is that the smallest one was missing a tooth and was in height and looks about the same as my seven year old. Although there is most likely some funny business going on, I doubt they can really proof anything. We'll just have to live with it. But there'll always be some sort of asteriks next to their medals because of this. The girls themselves will go along with the lie. I'm sure there would be serious repercussions for them and their families if they would tell the truth. Just shows how untrustworthy the Chinese government is.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Aug 08
Well, first let me say that I think China has come a long way as a government. I also think they have a long way to go, and something like this is much far reaching than only the Olympics. I also noticed the missing tooth in the smallest one. They're all so cute, so I hope this isn't hanging over their heads their entire lives.
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
I hope your jealousy of those girls' achievement will not always hang over your head.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Nobody is jealous, just concerned for the girl's health.
• United States
15 Aug 08
Since China was the host they easily got around that, but I can see it as being harder in another country. They were way too small, had the faces of children, and looked malnourished is you'd ask me... Chinese women are commonly small, but not like ten year olds. It seemed the judging was wrong too (bribed or paid off), the Chinese girl last night who got bronze was still gold after messing up so many times, the commentators thought her scores were way too high to have those noticeable mistakes all through the routines. Though the US did so well that you can't really put someone with that many mistakes up front, I still think other girls were better than those two Chinese girls that got ranked fairly high.
1 person likes this
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
It is known to all that pretty girls are better for gymnastics. You can advice gymnastics team from your county that they should choose tall and strong girl for fear that of being suspect of age.
• United States
16 Aug 08
Yeah, I think there's been some fishy business going on with the Olympics - mostly gymnastics. I just hope the IOC will take it seriously and investigate further.
@Arkadus (899)
• Canada
16 Aug 08
I'm not going to claim either way whether or not they're the 'proper age' because hey, I don't know. What I do know is they obviously have proper legal documents because they got into the games to begin with. Same rules as trying to get into a bar, even if you look twelve if you have proper identification they can't stop you. Now I know a few Asian people, not all of them Chinese but a couple are. All I've noticed is they're never as young as they look. The mother of one of them I thought was younger than I me when I first met her but she's twice my age (that would peg her as forty something and I thought she was under twenty). And then there was girl who was a year older than me and someone asked if she was my daughter... And heck, another girl I know who is 18 and she does indeed look 12-13 but hey she's original from Japan so I suppose that has little bearing here, oh wait, that makes her asian. Of course when they get old they start to look it. But that happens more around sixty, when they start to look eighty. So I'll kind of go out on a limb here and assume that since a) they had proper documents and b) there's a rather long standing tradition of asian people (in general) looking younger than they actually are well then they must be the 'proper age' On the chance they're not, hey, the rest of the world would have gotten shown up by a troop of little girls... Which kind of makes what they did even more of an achievement. I can understand where everyone is all 'oh they look young they must not be old enough blah blah blah' but you need to stop and to a 180 and look at how arrogant and stuff that looks to other people. The athletes representing their country just earned a gold metal and now there's a all this dispute about how they didn't 'really' earn it. You know you'd be just as annoyed, look at other situations where people have tried to take a medal away from someone else from a different country. But in the end all the proof you/we have of these girls not being old enough is an opinion based entirely on 'Well she doesn't look 16 to me.' Whereas the proof the other way is passports, legal documents. Hmmmm, and the only other weapon in the arsenal against them is... some newspaper articles which may or may not exist and which may or may not be about a completely different person. (hey more than a billion people... it's bound to happen). You could say hey bring some birth certificates but if, as you claim the passports were faked then whats to stop the claims that nope, birth certificates were fake too? (By you I mean people in general and not the topic starter...) I'm sure if you look at it like that you might just be able to see how some people might take this as a giant case of bad-loser-itus.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Aug 08
I heard about this the other day. I actually saw the gymnastics part that they were talking about on the news. And I also found myself wondering about their true age. I'm not an expert, but I can tell that they are extremely baby faced. And there is no way that they are over 15. But I guess we'll never know since they aren't going to look into it.
1 person likes this
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
Actually you never want to know it. All you would like to do is to spread groudless words. The girls offend you only becouse they get medals.
• United States
16 Aug 08
The girls themselves are not offensive. It isn't about medals. Everyone had their doubts WAY before medalling came into play. The girls just look REALLY young. That is the ONLY reason people have their doubts. I understand that you are very proud of your country, and you should be. China has made great improvements and are becoming extremely successful. But there is still a ways to go. Ethical practices in EVERY aspect are important for ALL nations. I'm very proud of the way China has hosted these Olympics. They've done a fantastic job, and the Opening Ceremony is by far the best in history (I have another post on this subject!)
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Given my experience, I do not think they look REALLY young. Not when you take into account that on average they look 4+ years younger than a girl from another country at the same age. They are shorter and smaller, and their faces don't lose the baby/child look as quickly. It's just a genetic fluke and it's like that with everybody from those countries, not just the girls who are part of the Olympics.
@alori61 (344)
• United States
16 Aug 08
I guess the age of the ladys gymnastics team will give the public something a little more substancial to complain about then the pretty little girl lip syncing during the opening ceremonies. Simple fact is people have to have something to talk bad about the Chinease government. I for one wish everyone would stop looking for something to complain about and enjoy the beauty of the games and where they are being held. I love the fact that the Olympics are being held in China this year it's been very educational, beautiful and moving. They are differnet then we are in America, they take pride in thier country, and thier lives. I guess no one has noticed thier haven't been any protests or bombings riots or other disturbances to the games? Nope only that you don't THINK the chinease girls are 15 years old. Yesterday morning on the Today show they showed footage of one of the american gold medal winners doing a routine in a competition when she was about 5 years old funny didn't hear no one screaming about her bones.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
I simply stated why the rule was put in place. And that competition you mentioned wasn't a big international competition. Of course those girls compete at an earlier age. But do you realize how much training goes into the preparation for an event like the Olympics? How high the degree of difficulty is for the exercises in those events? They make it look easy, but it takes many falls and injuries to get there. And that matter is made worse, if they are forced to get there too early. No bombings? Maybe not directly at the games but elsewhere in the country. No protests? Actually, yes. They don't let those protesters close to the venues, but there have been plenty of arrests especially of human rights and Tibet protesters. And no, it's not only AP reporting about that just in case you want to use that argument again. Oh, and I have yet to meet an American, who doesn't take pride in the US or their lives here. You don't?
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
"And no, it's not only AP reporting about that just in case you want to use that argument again." And just to add on to that since you made a comment earlier that I solely rely on AP as my source of information. I get my information from many sources, not only news (and definitely not only AP) and not only American or even English (which is not even my first language btw). But I guess all the foreign press and other sources only rely on AP (pun intended;)
@alori61 (344)
• United States
16 Aug 08
I did not at any point say you used only the AP as a news source, so do not try to twist my words to fit your arguement. Nor did I say that I do not take pride in my country, so don't begin calling me a communist. Am I ashamed of the way our government behaves? Yes I am at times. Am I ashamed of the way Americans behave at times? Again Yes I am. Am I saying everything the Chinese government says and does is right? NOPE but am I going to say they do nothing right because they are communist and not democratic? NOPE again. Is there anything or any way the chinese government could convince you that those young ladies are in fact of age to be in the olympic games? Not a chance, nothing they say, do, or provide you with will be good enough to change your mind, it's made up but as I said in the grand scheme of things what difference does it make? Simple fact is had the little girls come in 5th or 6th place no one would have cared about thier bones one little bit but because they did well all of a sudden thier health is in danger. American hystory is full of stories about young men that lied about thier age to fight for our country in times of war. Came home heroes. Does anyone say our government was corrupt because underage people defended our country? Heck no they are proud that our people went to such great lengths to defend our country. But the Chinese government took these little girls, imprisoned them and forced them to be olympic gold metalists to make thier country look good? Don't you think they would have paid a little more attention to the age requirements when they hatched thier scheme?
@hiddenwing (3721)
• China
16 Aug 08
haha, here is the thing, Chinese look much younger than American and some other races. Also, when some Chinese watched the games, they thought that the russian and American look much mature than people in their age. Believe it or not, when u travel to China, and watch the middle school students, u will find that they look much younger than u think. Anyway, people don't really know foreigners since they have never travelled to the country or tried to understand the people. I watched a lot of American dramas. Also, I like CNN and DISCOVERY channel. However, it is not enough to know American. So far as we are concerned, American are like they are in dramas. However, several classmates who lived in the united states told me that American people are quite different as we thought. "They are friendly rather than phlegmatic, they love their family thoug the divorce rate is kinda high, the public security is better than that we thought. Most people are kind and not that selfish." Therefore, I know we have a series of misunderstandings. We have misunderstandings becouse we only know people by watching dramas or news. We misunderstand each other since we have never knew people by ourselves. If u are willing to gave the chance.... the way from the other side is spectacular. I like American become I really know American. I have several American friends. They are all great. To tell u the truth, most of people that I know really like American. They are not like they are in dramas. It is sad, really! I hope u don't hate me and us. Yours sincerely!
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Okay, I'm game, do you still have baby teeth falling out and adult teeth coming in at the age of 15/16? The shortest girl on the Chinese team does? That would be something new to me. And yes, we know Chinese look younger than they really are, but there are developmental aspects that even a 15/16 year old Chinese girl should have that some of these girls didn't show. Either they are not 15/16 or they have been given something to stunt their growth and development. And before you start, I have travelled extensively and to many other countries. I also know a lot of Chinese girls. Did you know that many Americans adopt Chinese orphans? We know what their developmental stages should be and what they should look like at age 16. Oh, maybe you want to claim now that if they grow up here, they will develop differently, lol. Nobody hates you or China. Just your government's propaganda machine that so desperately tries to hide the truth in this case and the truth in so many other matters from its citizens. Why is nobody in your country asking the right questions? Why is nobody demanding that the government provide solid proof besides a passport they themselve issued? Are we really supposed to take things at face value? Are you taking everything your government says at face value? You do know that they control the media in your country right?
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
You never fall to the ground because you are good at protecting your bones. So you don't know how a adult lose her tooth. If you visit a specialized foot team, you can find every one lost 1 or more tooth. They are more like kid as to you theory. And you can claim Brazil football team get golden medal because they cheat about their age. You are good at cheating more than the government.
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
You say some Chinese orphans are adopt by some American families. We all know well about it and we thank them for there kindness. But you should be guilt when you metion it. You will be never as kind as your countryman to adopt a Chinese orphan.
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
If those Chinese girls can't get a medal, you will not say these jealous words. They become they painful training since they have not go to a primary school. You are jealous of these girls. You only pay attention to their face, but you never care how much sweat and blood they dream down. You just sit there lazily and say ungrand words.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
If they would have ended up in last place, the world community still would have had its doubts. Questions about their age have come from around the world. While their accomplishments are admirable, they are not 16. Enough evidence has been found. And it's not just their face, it's their entire body, old competition and news records, and much more that provided evidence. Your government has been trying hard to erase the age on old competition records and news reports, but in this time and age, it's difficult to cover up things quickly enough, even for your government and major news agencies have found old news reports on Chinese websites from Chinese news agencies that stated the true age of the girl. Once the news was made public, your government quickly shut down those sites. Wonder why? Now you can approve of your government's cheating and how they use these little girls as puppets, but that doesn't change the fact that they chose to gamble with these girls health and life. Nobody is jealous, but concerned. The rule that a gymnast has to be sixteen or turn sixteen the year of major international competition has been instituted for their own safety. It wasn't always there, but the observation that gymnasts otherwise may get crippled has been made and this is a measure to avoid that. Before the age of 16, the bones are not fully formed yet. The painful training as you pointed out they go through in order to prepare for such events is indeed extreme and too much for a little body like that. Too many gymnasts had to suffer longterm health consequences as injuries are incurred during training and competition. Thi is something that the age requirement is meant to prevent. Your government has chosen to ruin those little girl's lives by ignoring exactly that age requirement. Once they are done and can't perform anymore for they glory of your country, they will be discarded and will have to deal with their own problems. And unfortunately that will most likely be major health problems, and apparently problems of schooling (as you pointed out they don't attend school) and emotional as they have been taken away from their parents. You claim to be 31. Imagine your body has the pain of a 70 year old with the pain, trouble moving etc. You probably wake up and can get out of bed without pain shooting through your limbs. This is something that will be denied to these little girls. At your age they'll feel like senior citizens. Is that really what you want for them? Even worse, this kind of cheating casts doubt on the accomplishments of all the other chinese athletes, most of them have worked hard and deserve their medals. Is this really what you want for those athletes? Didn't think so. Now you can believe your government's propaganda machine, be their mouthpiece and spread the news that everybody is just jealous. Or you can stop and pause, think about what the rest of the world is saying. Are they really all jealous? Could that really be the case? I dare you to find out the truth. Now, if doubts like that would have come up here in the US, people would be all over it requesting solid proof other than government issued passports. People would demand proof beyond a doubt. Why doesn't anybody in your country want to provide such proof? Why doesn't your government want to provide that proof? If you think that you don't have to because it's China and China is glorious, think again. China wanted to show how strong it is, now all we here is cheating and deceit, and nobody who wants to step forward and erase that blemish. Do you really think, people are just jealous? Wow, then why not wipe the world's face with the proof so solid it cannot be doubted?....
1 person likes this
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
Until now you haven't bring any proof about your groudless words although you have said too much. And you still can't prove that you are not for jealousy to say so much words. But I should thank you only because I came to practise my English and you give me quite a long article to read. Except that I can't find any thing valuable. I don't care politics as much as you. You pay attend to government too much and I believe you born in the cold war and you will still live in the cold war in your mind. For politics you hate 13 billion people. Chinese people study and take training when they are quite young because they are diligent. If I tell you how long they spend in their study or training every day, you can't believe because you are lazy. You say that they should not be training at that age because you can't be as diligent as they. And you try to find excuse for you laziness. You words are full of anger and crying like a kid. I suspect if you have a cool head and I suspect if the age you claim it true. And your words is also rude. These are all evidence that you say these words because of jealouy and bias.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
I don't hate the Chinese. And the evidence does exist, although your government has taken down the Chinese websites it was on and apparently blocked access to every foreign website that shows the proof. My Chinese friend has told me that he can't access them from China. At least he has heart enough to express doubt about their age but is cautious to express them in public because he fears the repercussions. You have done nothing but accuse us of being lazy. You don't know anything about us, lol. I bet you don't even know where I was born although you can find that out very easily. As I stated before, you can take what your government says at face value and be their mouthpiece or you can inquire about the truth like at least some of your fellow countrymen are trying to do. I guess not all hope is lost, lol. Your country reminds me very much of the cold war era in the east block and my country during WWII. Better say 'hail to the country' or suffer the negative consequences. So you are probably better off not questioning your government's judgement, lol.
@LouieWpHs04 (4559)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Well all I can say is that the Chinese people that I know.. look wayyyy younger then their actual age. It just seems to be a common thing when it comes to them. I don't know, maybe i'm just crazy!
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
Jealousy of the medals of Chinese girl make a lot of people crazy. 1 month ago no one knows what a chinese look like. But today they all become experts.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
lixiaos77, have you ever left your country? We know what Chinese look like. Here in the US there are plenty of them, especially girls who have been adopted by American families. Unless of course you want to claim that they look different, when they leave their own country and grow up elsewhere, lol. And while Chinese do look younger than their true age, a 16 year old girl doesn't look like she is ten and just lost her last baby tooth, which is what the shortest one on the Chinese team looked like. I'm sorry, but especially that girl is not 16.
1 person likes this
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
You will be never be as kind as your countryman to adopt a Chinese orphan. But you claim you know them and you claim you care them. There are contradiction about you. So you are not trustable.
• United States
16 Aug 08
I looked at that little girl on the news and little is the key word. There is no way that girl can be 16, she barely looks older than my 10 year old daughter! I would say I'm surprised but quite honestly with China's track record of cutting corners and doing things illegally to get the most they can out of anything and everything this doesn't surprise me at all. I don't even understand why the Olympics are being held in China. It is a communist country and seems to go against what the Olympics are really about. There have been so many stories about what China has done to get the area ready from throwing people out of their homes to the extremely quick "clean up" after the earthquake, to restrictions on news accesses. I know that China isn't the only country who's government does wrong (my government isn't exactly perfect) but China just has a way of going to extremes to prove a point and this is just one more example of what they are willing to do. I wouldn't be surprised if these children are complete outcasted and shunned for what is happening right now because they will be blamed for not being good enough to trick others of their true age.
@alori61 (344)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Two weeks ago I went to the zoo with all of my kids. There were 10 people all together, we spent several minutes trying to figure out which tickets we needed to buy and who fell under the age limit. When we gave the count to the lady at the window she trying to be helpful tried to correct what she thought was an error. Turned out she believed my 19 year old daughter was under the age of 13. While my daughter threw a fit in front of the lady she later admitted that she does in fact take advantage of child prices sometimes. I could post pictures of my 15 year old when she was 12 and you would swear she was 6 or 7, even now at 15 if I could get her thyroid working you would not believe she's 15. Gotta love the way people will defend thier countries government system but will then condemn other people for defending thier contries. Just another way the American people think if it isn't done thier way it's the wrong way. How much of your dislike for the way the Chinease run thier country is because of the American propaganda machine called television?
• United States
16 Aug 08
Not much is based strictly on TV but rather on facts that can be backed up by multiple sources. If I could past I would give tons of independent sources but since I can't and typing out the addresses will not appease those who don't want to believe it then I won't bother. Those who know the true, know it and those who don't well they don't or won't for one reason or another. It isn't the country that I dislike it is the communist way of thinking that is have disdain for. It is the underhanded, immoral ways that are used to get what is wanted and what is needed. The people as a whole mean nothing to the government, they are pawns in a much bigger game where the government does anything and everything to show the world they are better than everyone else, regardless of the cost.
@alori61 (344)
• United States
16 Aug 08
LOL I think it's funny that you would go to such great lengths to prove your right and the entire government of china is wrong. I guess it's just not that important to me if they are 14 or 15 I enjoyed watching them reguardless. And fact is it don't matter if you get american news from tv, newspapers or the internet it don't make it true. Especially with today's technology it's easier then ever to 'spread the news'
@Tifa19 (5)
16 Aug 08
First of all,I should say I can't make sure the real age of our gymnasts.But as a Chinese girl,I can tell you that it is no wonder that someone looks older than others while someone looks youger.And then,it is a common thing as well that the whole team of the gymnasts have baby faces.When my friends and I who are six girls at the age of 23 took a party in a restuarant,the waitress couldn't believe that we are over 20 years old.On the other hand,if the Chinese gymnasts are real not 16,it is much more briliant for them having won the adult opponents as childen.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Is it also brilliant for them, if you take into account that the rule is there to protect them from serious lifelong injuries? They are more flexible and shorter, if they are not 16 yet. The gymnast world is aware of that. Every gymnast is more flexibel and more daring at a younger age. Let's see, how these girls will perform in 2012, if they are there. My guess is, they will be replaced by other little girls who have to go through the rigorous training at too young of an age and will be crippled in one way or another for the rest of their lives. They did great, nobody is saying they didn't, but what happened is cheating. And that casts doubt on all the accomplishments made by Chinese athletes in these olympics. Just food for thought. Oh, and since you are a girl, did you have your last baby tooth fall out and the adult one come in at age 15/16? That's what one of them had.
• Philippines
16 Aug 08
Just on the issue of baby teeth falling out at 15-16 years of age, I'd like to say it can happen. Some even get to retain their temporary teeth to adulthood especially when no permanant teeth erupt.I'm neither American nor Chinese.I'm just a dentist commenting on the issue of the eruption of teeth. Peace be to all.Thank you! :)
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Okay, point taken, thanks coffeebeatnik. My guess is we'll never know the truth about those girls, one way or the other;)
@Jola2008 (11)
• China
16 Aug 08
Hello,I'm from China.To your question,I can tell you the fact responsibly.In this Olympic Games,5 Chinese gymnasts are born in 1991 to 1992,and another gymmast called ChenFei is born in 1989.So,the report that you have read gave you the wrong information about Chinese gymnast.Our gymnasts looks young actually ,but can you only judge their ages just from appearance? What's more ,we don't need to tell the wrong information to people around the world ,does it make any sense ?We use young players to take part in Olympics ,because we hope to let them have more experience and have better achievement in the next Olympics in London .My friend,I hope you can understand us .Thanks a lot !
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
How come your own news agencies and old competition records reported them in 2007 as being 13 and younger? And those athlete's may not compete in London, because they may be too injured. If they are not 16 yet or turn 16 this year, their bones aren't properly formed yet. The strain of the training and performance at such a major international competition will wreak havoc on such bones. If they continue this way, they may be too crippled to perform and their will be other little ones to replace them. The rule of 16 was instituted to protect the gymnasts. Only a government who sees people as discardable tools and not humans would to that to its athletes and blatantly disregard rules that have been put in place to protect them. And I ask you, why isn't your government feverishly working on erasing the blemish cast on these young girls accomplishments? Why don't they provide solid proof that they are old enough besides a government issued passport? Why is nobody in your country questioning this? If these girls would be in any other western country, their people would be all over it in order to erase any doubt on their accomplishments. You seriously don't believe we'll just take your government's word for it, do you?
@lixiaos77 (1030)
• Shijiazhuang, China
16 Aug 08
Yes, you don't want those girls to have training at that age. You want the girls to stay at home do nothing to protect their bones. And they just sit before the TV to see others get the golden medal. It is just what you want say in you heart. Why don't you keep you kids in the room to protect their bones. Every one want to realize their dream by unbearable and paifful strive. But you try to stop them because you are lazy and jealous.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
I understand that you don't understand English that well. So let me say it more clearly, they can train but the vigorous training required for such a competition is too much. That's why the rules are in place. I feel sorry for you that you condone that and think that the rest of the world has couch potato kids at home. But I thank you for your concern for my kids, lol. They are excelling just nicely at sports without having been taken away from their family and being 'incarcarated' at a gym 24/7 in order to show them off as puppets, lol. My guess is you either don't have kids (oh, it's kid, I forgot you are only allowed to have one, lol) or your child has not been taken away from you. I'm sure those girls families are not exactly happy about the situation. I feel sorry for you as you obviously have not taken the time to find out how people in other countries live as you think we are all lazy and couch potatos. Have you ever left China? Or the greater area of Beijing?
@harrywood (114)
• China
16 Aug 08
I have to say, it's really a crazy idea to think they are all kids under 16. I know many of this kind of girls myself. You know the average chinese girls are not as tall as the average American girls. Furthermore, these little gymnasts were all carefully selected, this made them looks much shorter and younger than average girls. The height of their parents were all conscientiously examined at the same time when they are selected. Believe it or not. I'm only 1.29m tall when I became a high school student many many years ago. When was my lsat babytooth lost? when I was 16 also.can you imagine that? Now I'm an average man, 1.74m tall, still very short if in U.s. of course.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Point taken, I'm sure they are carefully selected. Still, why don't they simply provide some other proof than just the passport? Why don't they try everything to erase the doubt cast on those girls and their achievement? Even more, why doesn't the Chinese government try to provide proof that they didn't do anything wrong, didn't deceit the world, didn't cheat? After all, this is showing them in a very bad light. Wouldn't it be in their best interest to show that they are right?
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
16 Aug 08
The burden of proof is supposed to be on the accuser, not on the defendant Outside of that, I'm not sure why they don't submit other proof of age or birthdates, but it also appears they are being pigeonholed, I don't see or hear of any other country who is being harrassed to provide other documentation proving their athletes are the age they say they are. Maybe it IS political and has little to do with the actual competition. If so, then the whole thing needs to be dropped.
• United States
17 Aug 08
Mommyboo - In other sports, there are other athletes who are between the ages of 16-20 (the supposed ages of the Chinese gymnasts,) and they don't look overly-young and baby faced. They seem to be the stated age. I think the reason it's been such an issue with these girls is that they look SO MUCH younger than any other athlete at the Olympics.
@Elixiress (3893)
16 Aug 08
I do not see a problem with them being under 16, if they are talented enough at a young age then why should they not be entered. That goes for any other country too. It is only gymnastics that actually has an age limit, which I find to be unfair.
• United States
16 Aug 08
I think there are other areas that have age requirements along with weight/height requirements. Those requirements are there for a reason so that everyone in that certain sport is on a more or less even field with everyone else. Think about it with boxing, if you put a heavy weight in with a light weight and that light weight gets his brains literally beat out of him everyone would be screaming about how unfair it is but if the heavy weight cheats with his papers and rigs the scales to show him at a lighter weight than what he really is what can you do. I didn't see the gymnastics competition because I have not watched anything with the Olympics but there are limits and regulations for a reason and if you don't follow those regulations you are out, or at least you are supposed to be and if you cheat then it is what it is. If you get caught you should lost what you gained from cheating. These girls, if they are indeed under 16, which I believe they are from what I have seen are going to deal with this one way or another and no way will be pretty and it isn't their fault cause they are only doing what they have been told to do.
@Elixiress (3893)
16 Aug 08
I understand your point about boxing, but the gymnastics have had to go through qualifications and manage to pass certain tests to get in, just because they are younger does mean they got it easier. They still have the same capabilities as the 20 year olds.
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
21 Aug 08
The IOC has finally decided to look into it after having been presented with some of the evidence. It mostly relates to He. If they happen to decide that He is indeed only 14, she will lose her medal. I feel sorry for her, because she put a lot of effort into getting to where she is, but on the other hand rules are rules. It would also be too bad, because this have been great Olympics but China would most likely not be remembered for putting on a good show but for trying to cheat and then trying to cover up their tracks in a very poor manner. Well, just an update;)
• United States
22 Aug 08
Yeah, I heard that yesterday too. I feel sorry for He as well because I would bet that it wasn't her idea to falsify her age. They are saying that not only will she be stripped of her medals, but the team medals as well. I disagree that this incident will be what this Olympics is remembered for. There have been just too many "greats" to be overshadowed by this one thing. It's still the best Olympics by far, in my opinion!
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
16 Aug 08
I am not sure, and as much investigating as they do into the team members who qualify for the Olympics, I'd be surprised how far they are really pushing things. I can't say for sure whether they are REALLY 16 or not, but unlike most people, I don't think it matters as much as some think it does. The problem with this for the girls is that during a report I watched, these girls are sometimes taken from their parents when they are like THREE or FOUR and given rigorous testing and training and then they just train and compete and train and compete and they don't have a CHOICE. This is all they know. Not only this but in their culture they are raised to not question anything, I'd be surprised if any of them actually form their own thoughts and opinions about anything. If they don't speak any english, everything they hear from coaches and other people may be 'filtered' and they might have no idea what is being said about them because nobody translates or even gives them a heads up. I suppose if it is a huge violation that they are younger, sure, fine China for lying, and give them a warning that they cannot compete in the next Olympics if they try that tactic again. I don't think the girls should be stripped of medals or honors though, it is not the girls' fault their country is lying - if indeed they are. I have to mention too that as far as asians, regardless of what asian country, they just look younger. That is one of the problems *I* have, people honestly believe I am at least 10 years younger than I am, and I have been accused of lying about my age when in fact I never have. I have never had a reason to lie about my age and I also feel I look pretty close to my age, within a few years either way. It has to do with genetics and let me tell you, when these girls are 50 you'll think they're 35. It's a blessing when you're older, a curse when you're younger lol. When I was 16, people thought I was 12. When I was 19, people thought I was 13. Now that I'm almost 34, people think I'm 20. It sucks... occasionally. It's getting better but I bet it'll be another 10 years before I stop getting carded and people stop assuming I'm still in school. If they are REALLY at a loss, I bet they could do bone density or age scans and that would tell most of the story. They aren't always completely accurate and gymnasts undergo a lot of pounding and wear on their bodies, but it would answer the question one way or the other.
• United States
16 Aug 08
I have heard about that last night, and my husband and I thought that was unfair. I wish something could be done about that.
@lingli_78 (12844)
• Australia
16 Aug 08
i think some of them look a bit young to be 16 years old... but i don't know... it is really hard to judge on that unless if they really want to be honest... anyway, if any of them are caught cheating, then i think they really should be stripped of their medals... just my opinion though... take care and have a nice day...