Preventing underage gymnasts

November 2, 2008

In an effort to prevent future controversies like this summer’s where many believed members of the Chinese gymnastics team were underage, the International Gymnastics Federation will require all athletes to to acquire a license from them. Read the rest of the story and see photos and video below.

At their Oct. 15-16 committee meeting, the International Gymnastics Federation approved a license system for all athletes competing at most international meets. Beginning Jan, 1, all athletes will have an ID that contains information such as name, birthday, sex, and country, and it will serve as their proof of age throughout their careers. While this won’t stop the problem of age manipulation, it will provide proof of age long before gymnasts reach the Olympics or world competitions, which will make it harder to fudge their ages.

While the ID system was being talked about prior to the 2008 summer games in Beijing, it seems even more necessary after the allegations that as many as three of the gold medal winning Chinese gymnasts were under the required age of 16. Despite the Chinese government’s repeated stance that all their athletes were of age, online documents uncovered by various sources stated three of them may have only been 14. After these reports came to light, the International Olympic Commission asked the International Gymnastics Federation to further investigate the situation. The findings stated that all the gymnasts were of-age, as they all had government-issued passports stating they were 16. The investigation has, however, led to further inquiries into the ages of Chinese gymnasts during the 2000 summer games Sydney.

More photos and a video of Chinese and American Olympic gymnasts are below.

3 news clips on the underage Chinese Gymnasts controversy Video
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