Chinese Gymnasts Underage?

August 12, 2008

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.

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11 Responses to “Chinese Gymnasts Underage?”

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  1. 1
    chinese gymnasts underage Says:

    […] Chinese Gymnasts Underage? RightFielders Women in Sports , USA – Aug 13, 2008 – 4 hours ago 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 … Related Articles » clipped from Google – 8/2008 Huggies Wow; I’m a Gymnast Now; Underage Chinese Olympic Gymnasts … Associated Content , USA – Aug 13, 2008 – 7 hours ago Bella Caroli himself made a comment during the broadcast that the Chinese gymnasts were under 16 but since they had “legitimate” passports, they are allowed … Related Articles » clipped from Google – 8/2008 Grace, Pathos and Ethics Mix in Gymnastics Final Washington Post – Aug 13, 2008 – 41 minutes ago Finally, she got a 14.125, the lowest score by .975 of any Chinese or US gymnast in any discipline in the finals. She and her team were toast. … […]

  2. 2
    Scott Says:

    No, the observer that pointed out the missing tooth was not joking. Deng Linglin is missing her upper right cuspid. Size and weight may give a false indication of age, but teeth don’t lie. The cuspid (canine) teeth are the last ‘front’ teeth to come in. They emerge between age 11-12…even if she’s running slightly behind in development, she would DEFINITELY have all adult cuspids by 14….and no…I don’t think she knocked it out on the parallel bars!

  3. 3
    J-man Says:

    WOW I Saw the missing tooth but thought I was just seeing things (or I guess not seeing things…)I wonder if I there are any pictures online?

  4. 4
    Maria Says:

    are you guys serious! To me this is an outright humiliation for the Americans. btw yeah teeth don’t lie but I am 25 and still look like I have baby teeth. I use a child’s toothbrush and am missing a tooth from getting hit by a baseball. So yeah that missing tooth means nothing. To make things worse, say she is 14, that would mean that she kicked all our asses even though she is younger. What does that say about our team. I tell you, if she didn’t win the gold, if our team won, we wouldnt be complaining. Frankly right now, im embarrassed to be an American. no wonder the rest of the world thinks of us as “Stupid Americans.” Its so humiliating.

  5. 5
    Rob Says:

    Maria you’re the only stupid American around here. Their age gives them an unfair advantage. If you don’t know why then go find out. Please don’t bother trying to defend your comment. You already humuliated yourself.

  6. 6
    Mike Says:

    Maria – you sound like one of those people that don’t seem to care that there are rules. The reason for this particular rule is that smaller, lighter gymnasts have an unfair advantage. If we didn’t have this rule, countries like China would be taking those kids out of their gymnastics concentration camps and forcing them to compete for the motherland. Worse yet, the passports that they are using to try to con us were issued by the very government that is perpetrating the con. This is cheating that is facilitated by the state. What lesson are they teaching their children? Wake up, Maria. Excuse me if us “stupid American’s” object to cheating and a win-at-all-costs mentality.

  7. 7
    Zelda Says:

    Not only is it cheating if the Chinese gymnasts are under 16 which means they shouldn’t have the Gold medal, but it is dangerous for the children themselves because they are still growing and damage to their growth plates would lead to permanent damage to their bodies. From what I have read elsewhere about how China treats their athletes, they don’t care about that though.

  8. 8
    Strip the Golds Says:

    The FIG and IOC need to investagate this hard and if it is true all the medals that the cheaters won need to be striped imcluding the team Gold. Heck if a Sprinter is caught with doping it is all over the news. Or a horse during the equestrian, but reports and proof of underage gymnasts have been floating even before the games and what happens….. It is brushed over. HEY IOC did China really give you that much money host the games to allow this to go untouched. Bottomline the Olympics used to mean something, now it means that the FIG and IOC care nothing about fair play as much as it does the almighty dollar.

  9. 9
    Asmo Says:

    Well HOORAY for you, Mike!! Finally, someone who understands that this is NOT about who won gold or silver, who was a better gymnast, who had a better routine or any of the other smokescreens being thrown up. It is about the fact that there are RULES for the games and those RULES have been broken. Two other athletes have been stripped of their medals and expelled for breaking the “unsportsmanlike conduct” RULE, and all they did was leave their medals behind when they left the podium (well, one was pretty vocal about his loss to win the bronze). If the most BASIC concept of following the RULES is tossed out, there is no need to even have the games anymore. Whichever country can pay the biggest bribe, or develop the best dope or kill off the most opponents will win.

    So, Maria, it’s not “stupid Americans” that are the problem… I guess it’s the honest ones…. and the ones like you. Oh, I guess that does encompass the “stupid” part, then.

  10. 10
    casmo Says:


    stupid- adj. lacking intelligence;dull-witted;tiresome or annoying.

    lacking intelligence
    about the sport in wich we speak of. Maria obviously has no clue about the sport of gymnastics or she would get the reason that they have the rule that you must be 16.

    not knowing why they have the rule to be 16 and then write the post that maria did.

    tiresome or annoying
    refer to maria’s post.

    Here is the thing not only did the chinese cheat to get the medals. The deprived all perticipating in the gymnastic compitition of their moment. They can never get that back. shame on them!!!!!!!!!!
    and shame on you maria not for being stupid but for writing about a topic that you lack intelligence in!

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