IOC launching probe into He Kexin's age

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midwestgymmom

Active Member
Aug 27, 2006
661
midwest
I am glad they are investigating as well. I feel that China needs to be held accountable if they falsified these documents so that girls who were too young could compete. I feel bad for the girls involved. None of this was their choice. They have worked hard and are amazing gymnasts.

If the allegations are true shame on China - not just for cheating - but for what they did to these girls.

The Chinese goverment doesnt care what anyone thinks of them as long as their own people are oblivious to what they do so they dont question things the government does. Those poor girls are nothing to their government but trained racehorses for the glory of the communist government unfortunately.

Its interesting that this happened the day after the gymnastics events concluded though and not during.
 

mom2kazkids

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 16, 2008
452
It is a shame that it was not dealt with earlier. Reports started before the games started about the ages. It will be another what if moment. What if the Chinese competed a team that was of age, what would the medal outcome truely have been?
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
When people say things like the coach said, it is because these countries have a history, long and documented, of the ends justifying the means.

History aside (and you can read one of my recent posts about how I believe falsifying ages is a symptom of greater bureacratic control), I can't understand how "cheaters live in China" is either fair or accurate. It seems relatively inaccurate and also unfair to the many Chinese citizens who are upstanding individuals in their personal ethics. I support anyone's right to free speech to say such a thing if they so desire and I apologize if I unintentionally indicated that I supported the right to restricting free speech. However, I can't help pointing out that I consider "cheaters live in China" to be inaccurate. More accurate would be "Cheaters live in China, but they also live everywhere else." Most accurate would probably be, "Despite the market nature of China's recent economic activity, the Chinese government still exerts a lot of Communist-style control over the activities of Chinese citizens, including, but not limited to, falsifying information so underage athletes can participate in sporting events."

In other words, it's cheating to falsifying ages so since I believe that He Kexin is underage, someone helped her cheat. But I doubt she got an UB routine like that spending a lot of time cheating on conditioning. Regardless of her age and the activities of higher level officials, I feel relatively certain she is a hardworking and probably honest girl. I have met many Chinese immigrants and citizens who are not cheaters and have worked hard for what they have. I think it's unreasonable to imply to impressionable children that they shouldn't cheat on conditioning because cheating=Chinese. They shouldn't cheat on conditioning, but it has nothing to do with China.
 

kgymn

Member
Gymnast
Aug 3, 2008
324
Virginia
History aside (and you can read one of my recent posts about how I believe falsifying ages is a symptom of greater bureacratic control), I can't understand how "cheaters live in China" is either fair or accurate. It seems relatively inaccurate and also unfair to the many Chinese citizens who are upstanding individuals in their personal ethics. I support anyone's right to free speech to say such a thing if they so desire and I apologize if I unintentionally indicated that I supported the right to restricting free speech. However, I can't help pointing out that I consider "cheaters live in China" to be inaccurate. More accurate would be "Cheaters live in China, but they also live everywhere else." Most accurate would probably be, "Despite the market nature of China's recent economic activity, the Chinese government still exerts a lot of Communist-style control over the activities of Chinese citizens, including, but not limited to, falsifying information so underage athletes can participate in sporting events."

In other words, it's cheating to falsifying ages so since I believe that He Kexin is underage, someone helped her cheat. But I doubt she got an UB routine like that spending a lot of time cheating on conditioning. Regardless of her age and the activities of higher level officials, I feel relatively certain she is a hardworking and probably honest girl. I have met many Chinese immigrants and citizens who are not cheaters and have worked hard for what they have. I think it's unreasonable to imply to impressionable children that they shouldn't cheat on conditioning because cheating=Chinese. They shouldn't cheat on conditioning, but it has nothing to do with China.

Personally I think you're taking the "cheaters live in China" comment a *little* too seriously. I thought it was funny. I highly, HIGHLY doubt that the coach meant "all cheaters live in China" or "All Chinese people are cheaters" I'm going to assume the purpose was to o one hand, make light of the situation with the chinese ages (and possibly judging) but also to make a point to the kids in a way they would understand, with the message being "we value honesty and hard work in this gym, without it we are no better than those SPECIFIC Chinese individuals involved whom people are upset with."

Are we REALLY so uptight around here that we don't know how to take sarcasm, and making light of otherwise emotionally charged situations?

I'm betting the coaches comment got the point across to the girls and got them to do their conditioning without making them feel particularly belittled.

~Katy
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
Maybe, maybe not, even if it is a joke I don't find it particularly funny, nor do I think it's the right way to approach kids about cheating. If it is a joke, then I suppose it still has nothing to do with a history of Machiavellian politics anyway.

I am pretty uptight though, but I think I like it that way :cool:
 

lemonsnaps154332

New Member
Aug 12, 2008
20
I think it is rather obvious that the comment was meant to say the Chinese government will to whatever it takes to win/be the best not matter what, even if they have to cheat. They really could care less what people think of them, or who they have to use to get what they want. That is why the IOC can't take this lightly and we really can't start looking the other way on things like this.
The comment was correct if your going to take it litterally, cheaters do live in China, they also live in the US, Great Britian, France, and everywhere else in the world. The difference is in those countrys people actually take action/aren't afraid to speak out against it. If this were going on in America, there would be 100 people telling their stories about how they know how young our gymnasts are.
 
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greyhoundrescue

Guest
Am I the only person who applauded when the investigation was announced?
Whether or not such lying, cheating, and rule breaking is common, traditional, or an unspoken-of fact in ANY country or competition, it is NOT reflective of the Olympic spirit. Perhaps, I am wrong in thinking this, but Olympic games, the events, and the competitors, must be held to a higher standard for they are not only representing their sport to the entire world, but they are representing everyone in their country. If China cheated (which seems pretty much a given fact at this point), they need to be stripped of those medals. They did not earn them; they broke the rules to get them. Yes, all of the Chinese gymnasts were spectacular and worked hard, but the message that future athletes, children, and the world-at-large will learn from their not being stripped of those medals is that breaking the rules and cheating isn't wrong, even if you get caught, as long as you do a really good job at cheating. I'm sorry, but that thought makes me physically ill. I'm sure I was not the only parent who struggled to explain to their precocious child why "those girls" (my kids are still young, to them 14 or 16, it's basically the same thing) are getting their medals if everyone is saying they broke the rules. My kids, like most little kids, have a pretty clear moral compass. Wrong is wrong and right is right in their eyes. The grey area reality of our adult lives is incomprehensible to them. It the IOC does not step up and hold everyone to the same standards, I will lose all respect I hold for the organization. I lived in Atlanta in '96, I remember all of those scandals (which now seem pretty much forgotten, wow). My respect for the Games went down a notch then, but I still remained a fan--seeing events live and simply experiencing life in a host city certainly helped. Then the scandals of the subsequent ones? I am just disgusted. The IOC has a lot to make up for in my eyes. London and Ontario, can you do it better, please? Thus, I close with these words to hopefully remind us all of the true spirit of the Olympic games:
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." (Olympic Creed, Baron Pierre de Coubertin)
 
D

Deleted member 1703

Guest
As our one of our coaches told the girls that were cheating on their conditioning : Cheaters live in China.

I personally find that remark appalling. It is a racial comment which really has no place in any sporting environment.

What about the next time that any of those girls meets somebody from China - what will they remember? This type of comment can spark prejudice. I feel our duty to our children is to bring them up in a way that they recognise that behaviours are not acceptable, not an entire race/country.

I, of course, will be following the enquiry with interest. Perhaps an innocent until proven guilty attitude might be better.

What about Marion Jones - does that make "cheaters live in the USA" seem appropriate?
 
D

Deleted member 1703

Guest
Posted this morning on another website:

By NANCY ARMOUR, Associated Press Writers 1 hour, 41 minutes ago

BEIJING (AP)—Despite persistent questions about the ages of several members of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team that won the gold medal, the International Olympic Committee said Friday there is still no proof anyone cheated and believes the controversy will be “put to rest.”

China has again given the governing body of gymnastics documents that show its athletes are eligible, and coach Lu Shanzhen said the girls’ families are “indignant” that the issue won’t go away.

“It’s not just me. The parents of our athletes are all very indignant,” Lu said in an interview with The Associated Press. “They have faced groundless suspicion. Why aren’t they believed? Why are their children suspected? Their parents are very angry.”

The IOC asked the International Gymnastics Federation to investigate “what have been a number of questions and apparent discrepancies,” spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. The FIG has said repeatedly that a passport is the “accepted proof of a gymnast’s eligibility,” and that China’s gymnasts have presented ones that show they are age eligible. The IOC also checked the girls’ passports and deemed them valid before the games began.

Lu said the Chinese gave the FIG documents Thursday evening that included the current and former passport, ID card and family residence permit for double gold medalist He Kexin. Lu said the documents all say she was born in 1992, which makes her eligible to compete. Gymnasts must turn 16 at some point during the Olympic year in order to be eligible.

“We believe the matter will be put to rest and there’s no question … on the eligibility,” Davies said. “The information we have received seems satisfactory in terms of the correct documentation—including birth certificates.”

If the federation had found evidence that the gymnasts were underage, it could have affected four of China’s medals. In addition to the team gold and He’s gold on bars, Yang Yilin won bronze medals in the all-around and uneven bars. Media reports and online documents have suggested that He, Yang and a third team member, Jiang Yuyuan, might be as young as 14.

“Surely it’s not possible that these documents are still not sufficient proof of her birthdate?” Lu asked. “The passports were issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The identity card was issued by China’s Ministry of Public Security. If these valid documents are not enough to clarify this problem, then what will you believe?

“The Chinese government and the Chinese athletes must be respected,” he added.

Andre Gueisbuhler, secretary general of the FIG, said the federation would release a statement later Friday.

“For the time being, there is nothing I can add,” Gueisbuhler said.

Earlier this month, the AP found registration lists previously posted on the Web site of the General Administration of Sport of China that showed both He and Yang were too young to compete. He was born Jan. 1, 1994, according to the 2005, 2006 and 2007 registration lists. Yang was born Aug. 26, 1993, according to the 2004, 2005 and 2006 registration lists. In the 2007 registration list, however, her birthday has changed to Aug. 26, 1992.

“If you trust every Web site but not a government … There are so many Web sites, so much hearsay,” Lu said. “These are not official. It is possible that all news on the Internet is accurate?”

China’s team did look noticeably younger than the Americans, who finished with the silver medal in the team competition. The Americans, though, had two 20-year-olds on their team, and all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin turns 19 this fall.


“At this competition, the Japanese gymnasts were just as small as the Chinese,” the coach said. “Chinese competitors have for years all been small. It is not just this time. It is a question of race. European and American athletes are all powerful, very robust. But Chinese athletes cannot be like that. They are by nature that small.”

Although the IOC didn’t detail what prompted it to ask the FIG to look into the matter again, after competition had already ended, the U.S. Olympic Committee said it sent a letter to both organizations Friday asking them to resolve the matter.

“We certainly believe that it’s important for the IOC and the international federation to review the issue and hopefully lay it to rest because the questions surrounding the age of some of the athletes have been out there for quite a while and it’s unfair to them and unfair to the other athletes to continue to linger,” USOC chief executive Jim Scherr said.

“So we have sent a letter to the IOC and to the international federation asking them to review the matter and see if they can’t resolve it for the good of the competition, the integrity of the competition and the good of all the athletes.”
China's Kexin stands on the podium after the women's uneven bars final of the artistic gymnastics event of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing on August 18, 2008. China's Kexin He won the gold, United States' Nastia Liukin the silver and China's Yilin Yang the bronze.


The Chinese women won six medals, including the team gold and He’s gold on uneven bars. Media reports include a Nov. 3, 2007 story by the Chinese government’s news agency, Xinhua, that suggest He is only 14.

“We played fair at this Olympic Games,” Liukin’s father and coach, Valeri, said after they arrived back in the United States. “… If somebody cheated, shame on them.”

Added Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics: “Fair play is an important aspect of the Olympic movement, and the IOC is responsible for ensuring that everybody is playing by the rules. This issue needs to be resolved, and it needs to be behind us. Once the IOC feels it has done everything in its power to resolve it, everyone is going to have to accept that at some level.”

Age falsification has been a problem in gymnastics since the 1980s after the minimum age was raised from 14 to 15 to protect young athletes from serious injuries. The minimum age was raised to its current 16 in 1997. Younger gymnasts are considered to have an advantage because they are more flexible, and are likely to have an easier time doing the tough skills the sport requires. They also aren’t as likely to have a history of injuries or fear of failure.

North Korea was barred from the 1993 world championships after FIG officials discovered Kim Gwang Suk, the gold medalist on uneven bars in 1991, was listed as 15 for three years in a row. To Romania admitted in 2002 that several gymnasts’ ages had been falsified, including Olympic medalists Gina Gogean and Alexandra Marinescu.

Even China’s own Yang Yun, a double bronze medalist in Sydney, said during an interview aired on state broadcaster China Central Television that she was 14 in 2000.

“There have been questions that have been on the table and discrepancies that have been alluded to by certain parties,” Davies said. “The IOC is simply wanting to do its due diligence to 100 percent clarify the situation and put this to rest.”

Armour is an AP National Writer; Leicester is an AP Olympics Columnist. AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson also contributed to this report.
 
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LasswadeCoach

Guest
Gym Mum UK - I completely agree with you about that comment, that is a disgusting thing to say to or around any children! It is a racist remark and totally unfair on the country! I am with you on the innocent untill proven guilty attitude, as many Chinese people look much younger than they actually are - take Zou Kai on the mens team, hes 19 but to me he looks about 12!!
 

catesmom

Member
Nov 9, 2007
220
Illinois
Well after an exausting 12 hour investigation, they have determined that the Chinese gymnasts were of age, don't we all feel better now?:eek: Years will have to pass before we find out the truth. It is what it is. But please, does it really seem right to be calling the coach that made the "Cheaters live in China" comment a bigot and a racist? That coach was taking a current event and using it in a way that little girls understood to make a point. Come on, do we really think that this will cause those little girls to go through life beleiving that all Chinese people cheat? The "cheating" is the talk of the gym where my dd attends. They argue it back and forth everyday, this is the gymnasts not the coaches. As dedicated as these girls are to gymnastics, it doesn't surprise me at all. Every day my dd comes home and says so and so went to this site and they said.....OK, he could have given a history lesson about the ability of authoritarian governments to completely control a persons life, but that might have been a little over the top for a gymnastics practice.

At our house we approach it the same way we always do, if you cheat you may win in the short run, but in the long run it will come back to haunt you. You may say it isn't always true, but thats how we approach it in my house. And the comment about Marion Jones, she was stripped of her medals and has to live with the reputation of being a cheater for the rest of her life. She is paying the price for her actions. But remember that was one athletes personal choice, not a government cheating for her.

And again, the chinese gymnasts were amazing, I loved watching their performances, I just think that the rules are for everyone, and if 14 year olds compete in China, then it should be open to 14 year olds across the globe. :)
 
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gracefulone

Guest
"China’s team did look noticeably younger than the Americans, who finished with the silver medal in the team competition. The Americans, though, had two 20-year-olds on their team, and all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin turns 19 this fall."

My younger sister and I are 3 years apart. There's a difference between appearing 3 years apart, and 4 or 5 years apart. My dad was watching bars finals, when Nastia walked out, followed by He and Yang, and here's how he called their ages, " 17, 12, 9". Now he was exaggerating and didn't even get Nastia's right, but still. He was frustrated. The girl my family agrees seems youngest is Deng, yet there doesn't seem to be as much information on her. My mom hadn't been following any of this until a few days ago, and during team prelims she said, "That one, there, number 326, is about 12" Number 326 was Deng.

The IOC keeps claiming they don't have proof, yet doctors say they can estimate ages within a year of accuracy. If the IOC really believed there was nothing to hide, wouldn't they look into this?

*I am playing devil's advocate simply because I want equality for all gymnasts. I still have some hope in the part of my brain that assumes the best of people that everything was fair. That's why, if everything was fair, I want it to come out with no look-backs or regrets. *
 
D

Deleted member 1703

Guest
But please, does it really seem right to be calling the coach that made the "Cheaters live in China" comment a bigot and a racist?

I said that the comment was racial.

I did not call the coach a bigot and a racist.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
Possible statement released later today.

Officials to rule on Chinese gymnast's age

August 22, 2008
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Bill Schiller
ASIA BUREAU

BEIJING–A statement could be released later today following renewed International Olympic Committee inquiries into the ages of China's tiny gymnastic phenom, He Kexin, and her two gymnastic teammates after "discrepancies" had been brought to its attention, the IOC said
Any move to disqualify the Chinese gymnasts on the basis that they are too young, would shock and disappoint the Chinese, who have gone out of their way to put on a perfect sports showcase for the world.
But IOC spokesperson Giselle Davies told a press briefing today the IOC was doing "due diligence" and that further inquiries were being made.
She did not explain why - but said the action should not been seen as a "formal investigation."
"Yes we have asked the (International) Gymnastics Federation to look into what have been a number of questions and apparent discrepancies on this case," Davies said.
"We did discuss it earlier in these Games ... and we believed that this had addressed the issue.
"However, with some questions remaining we have now asked the federation to take a further look."
The IGF, the world governing body for the sport, will report back to the IOC later Friday.
Critics - media as well as competitors - have consistently complained there is simply too much information in the public domain to believe He is the required 16 years of age to compete.
If He were found to be underage she would be stripped of her two gold medals.
Wang Wei, a senior official with the Beijing Olympic committee, told a press briefing this morning that as far as he was concerned all concerns had already been answered.
"Eligibility has already been investigated by authorities in the international federation," he said. "If the athletes hadn't been cleared they wouldn't have participated."
A number of articles in the Chinese media last year routinely identified He as a 13-year-old.
Rules require gymnasts be at least 16 in the year they compete.
Davies told a British newspaper last night that because of troubling new developments, the committee had instructed the IGF to investigate.
"More information has come to light that did point to discrepancies," she told The Times of London.
Davies today said the article is "probably misleading."
From the outset, even before the Games began, it was the scandal-in-the-making that wouldn't go away.
Chinese officials were able to clear the air for these Olympic Games.
But they couldn't do the same for the controversy over charges from the media — and competitors — that gold medal gymnast He was two years too young to compete.
The New York Times and the Associated Press in particular uncovered ample evidence last month and earlier this month to question China's insistence that she was 16.
Then a computer expert, Mike Walker of New York-based Intrepidus Group, added more muscle to those questions, using a Chinese search engine to unearth official government documents that showed He to be just 14.
Walker, a computer security expert and self-described "citizen journalist," posted his findings on the Internet on the blog Stryde Hax which appeared to have renewed the controversy.
Walker told the Toronto Star in an interview last night he was concerned that key documents once available on the Internet were being destroyed.
The online discoveries ratcheted up pressure on the IOC to investigate He's age, an issue it had mainly managed until yesterday.
Mounting evidence appeared to push the committee to take the uncomfortable step of looking into one of the host nation's newest sensations.
"Much of the coverage regarding Kexin's age has only mentioned `allegations' of fraud and the IOC has ignored the matter completely," Walker charged, writing under the name "Stryde." "I believe these primary documents, issued by the Chinese state ... rise to a level of evidence higher than allegation."
With suspicion renewed, IOC officials were moved to act to ensure the Games' integrity and the values of the Olympic movement.
After winning the first of two golds at these Games, He was asked her age by reporters.
"My real age is 16," she said. "I don't care what other people say."
Chinese officials have boldly defended the young athlete, even producing a passport — issued in February — showing He to be 16 and born Jan. 1, 1992.
But documents unearthed by Walker, the New York Times and AP showed her birthdate as Jan. 1, 1994, which would make her 14 years and 8 months, well below the required 16 years.
Earlier this month the AP found official General Administration of Sport of China registration lists, previously posted on the Internet, that showed He and teammate Yang Yilin were too young to compete.
According to government registration lists from 2005, 2006 and 2007, He was born Jan. 1, 1994.
Similarly, lists government lists from 2004, 2005 and 2006 showed Yang was born Aug. 26, 1993.
On the 2007 list, AP found Yang's birthday had been changed to Aug. 26, 1992.
Walker's meticulous step-by-step "how-to" on his blog, for the benefit of his readers, lent greater weight to the documents unearthed.
Some of those references have since been deleted.
Walker concentrated his Internet search on Excel spreadsheets where he hoped he might discover He's name on official lists.
He used Google, Google China and, finally, the popular Chinese language search engine Baidu.
Such searches take individual snapshots of what they find — known as a "cache." If an original web page is later deleted, the cache, or snapshot, can often still be viewed.
On Google and Google China, references to He were deleted from documents. Even their caches had been "scrubbed," Walker said.
When he did a search using Baidu, all pages and data had been deleted.
But when he examined the Baidu caches, two official government documents were there.

thestar.com
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
If they were going to investigate they really should have done so before the olympics began. Doing it now really does punish the girls more than anyone else. Even if they were stripped of the gold - would you want it by default. Granted if they are underage that is what should happen - but again - if the investigation was going to be done seriously it would have happened before. I think this should just be used a starting point to figure out a way to not let it happen again.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
I did not say I am not "proud" to be an American - What I said is that comments like that make me feel ashamed to be called an American - that is my own personal feelings & I am entitled to them. gymdog & gym mum very eloquently described why this was not a funny, or amusing comment to make, and I agree wholeheartedly.


As to this issue, I personally think (my opinion) is that all of the "their cheating" shout outs is all based on assumption. There is no proof that any of the gymnasts that particapated are underage. If they were deceptive then they will be dealt with accordingly. IMO this so called "un-investigation" is just a little too late. There are no new facts to report. There is also more to the story that most don't realize because they only pay attention to bits and pieces of these news releases - for instance: the issue with He's age being listed as 11 or 12 in 2006 could actually be related to her age being LOWERED to participate in inner-city games. I am not calling that fact, or that it would be considered right, but if that is the case then her age discrepancy would not be relative to the Olympic games.

As to the US and this never happening here... I guarantee that there are competitions that are particapated in where parents or clubs have deceptively changed an age to compete, or compete in a different age group.

About falsifying birth certificates in the US. This is a very personal story, but I wanted to show that it is not completely impossible. Keep in mind I was a teenager at this time for bashing purposes.... My dad decided he wanted to change my little sisters name (for untold reasons) , walked into the county office (outside of Sacto nonetheless) told them my little sis had ben born outside of a hospital & he needed to register her birth - she was 2 at the time. He walked out with a fresh ready to sign stamped document, brought it back for me to sign as her mother, and brought it back to them for official registration. Her name, DOB, and parents were changed and it was now a completely legal birth certificate - it took him an hour.
 
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I-Heart-Beam

Active Member
Sep 9, 2007
964
Scotland
FINALLY! It only took a few months.

They stripped Andrea Raduccan of her gold because her team doctor gave her a cold medicine which in no way affected her perfomance- the same should happen here.

Having said that, I feel so sorry for the gymnasts- like you all said, they weren't asked to compete.
 
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