The Chinese gymnastics team has been under close investigation as the athletes’ age group was questioned as it had been declared they were under fourteen while the minimum age should have been between fifteen and sixteen. This particular investigation included participants in the Sydney 2000 Olympics team as well.
Some of the names mentioned were athletes such as: Yang Yun and Dong Fangxiao, both of whom won bronze medals in Australia as well as 2008 Beijing gold medal winners He Kexin and Yang Yiling.
Gymnastics at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Dominique Dawes, the US Olympics representative stated “It’s not about medals; the important issue is that they are right wrong and hopefully banning future Olympics from being minors. It’s really about making sure every athlete does things the right way. “
The investigation was carried out by the International Olympic Committee and they decided to start it basically one month after the Olympics in Beijing concluded. The committee has taken the necessary time and representatives have been working intensively to find answers as to whether these athletes are able to compete or not depending on the paper work each delegate presents at the time the participants are registered.
Documents provided to the Olympic Committee indicated that the six Chinese Gymnastics delegates were old enough to be part of the event. On the other hand, the committee also requested additional information from two other athletes whose data could not be fully approved, namely: Dong Fangxiao and Yang Yun.
In Dong’s case his birthday is dated 20 January 1983 but additional documents show a different date essentially a three-year difference which renders him a minor for his participation in Sydney 2000. The athlete has been questioned but to date there has been no concrete answer as to his actual date of birth.
This could certainly lead to a more complicated situation as changing documents with athletes ‘ages became a real problem when the ages were changed from 14 to 15. The changes had medical purposes as athletes’ bodies could suffer more injuries so the standard age eventually changed to 16.
The media have put a lot of pressure on this issue because these young talents need to be taken care of as human beings not only as sports machines. Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC has stated that it is now a requirement that all delegates submit on birth certificates as well as school registration documents, family pictures and others. All these documents have been received from the Chinese group and things seem to be fine only two athletes are still being investigated.
For now, the Chinese Gymnastics team has been cleared and medals will be saved. Olympic representatives hope these issues will be resolved sooner than later especially with the new requirements and that in the coming years delegates will not try to cut short to win medals by fooling laws and procedures. …