NYT covers age fakery

The New York Times has an article about the Chinese age situation.  I think it’s interesting that the FIG and USAG tried to get some answers after they got tips by email from fans.   

Some good quotes:  

In Chinese newspaper profiles this year, He was listed as 14, too young for the Beijing Games.

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.

I wish I knew what and where these official registration lists they are talking about are.  

The other gymnast, Jiang, is listed on her passport — issued March 2, 2006 — as having been born on Nov. 1, 1991, which would make her 16 and thus eligible to compete at the Beijing Games.

A different birth date, indicating Jiang is not yet 15, appears on a list of junior competitors from the Zhejiang Province sports administration. The list of athletes includes national identification card numbers into which birth dates are embedded. Jiang’s national card number as it appears on this list shows her birth date as Oct. 1, 1993, which indicates that she will turn 15 in the fall, and would thus be ineligible to compete in the Beijing Games.

That one is especially weird.  The wrong birthdate embedded into her national identification number.  I think if it’s true about the national identification number, China should be banned.  How does an athlete get a national ID number with the wrong birth date in it?  

Yang Yun of China won individual and team bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and later said in an interview on state-run television that she had been 14 at the time of those Games. A Hunan Province sports administration report also said later that she had been 14 when she competed in Sydney.

The interview I linked to is in Chinese with an English translation provided in the description.  So now you know for sure that they cheated before and got away with it.  Nothing to stop them from doing it this time.  Since the FIG can’t seem to do anything about cheating, they need to scrap the rule since they can’t enforce it.  It is unfair to countries who can’t don’t cheat.  

via: Gymnicetics and LBLGymnastics and Gymblog


Associated Press covers age fakery.  ESPN news site.

::UPDATE 2::

From China View

 A Chinese official said on Monday the Chinese Olympic gymnasts are old enough for the Beijing Games.

Also Chicago Sports/Chicago Tribune talks about underaged gymnasts and divers.  There’s also translations of some of the fabled Chinese message board postings concerning He.  

“It’s too late to He’s age. Many foreigners already knew it. It would need to change the name and use a false record to see if it can go through.”

The reply to this suggestion?

“It doesn’t matter. If He, Kexin’s skills are very good we Chinese can change her age very easily. I think this is pretty much the norm for Chinese teams.”

::UPDATE 3::

ABC News has some quotes from Chinese message boards too.  

Reply 2: “Age is definitely not a problem, in the national sports system, results are the most important. In America, age might be a problem, but there’s no way the Chinese team is that stupid….”

Wow.  Following the rules = stupid.

::UPDATE 4::

Epoch Times has a screenshots of the roster from Chengdu Sports Bureau which listed He Kexin’s 1994 birthday.

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