The Chinese Gymnastics team took the gold in Beijing on Wednesday morning while questions still linger about their ages. Read about it below and see photos and a video.
A couple of critical errors made on the balance beam by American gymnast Alicia Sacramone left the opening needed for the Chinese gymnasts to take a lead over them. In the end, The Chinese team took the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games while the Americans took the silver. At 20-years-old and a college student, Sacramone is the old lady of the group …. maybe by far. But she wasn’t the only one. All three American girls made mistakes on the floor exercises, leaving plenty of room for the Chinese to win over them.
Questions have hung over this year’s gymnastics competition as to whether or not the Chinese gymnasts are underage. The minimum age for eligibility to compete is that the gymnast turns 16 during the year of the Olympic Games. The size and underdevelopment of the girls could be attributed to the fact that Chinese tend to be smaller than Americans to begin with. Then there’s the issue of under nourishment of the gymnast as a method of keeping them small. But then there’s the claim of a Chinese gymnasts who reports she competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a 14-year-old. And one observer who claimed that one of the gymnasts appeared to be missing a baby tooth (okay, she was joking … I think).
Bela Karolyi, legendary coach, says that China’s use of these young girls is “a slap in the face of the whole world�?. Chinese officials produced official Chinese passports as proof of their ages. Still, its hard to find information about what years they were born. F.I.G., the International Gymnastics Federation, seems to be trying to pretend none of this is happening. The International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) seems to be just throwing their hands up in despair.
It seems like its one thing after the other in these Olympics.