An article in the New York Times, Records Say Chinese Gymnasts May Be Under Age , indicates that some of the Chinese gymnasts, namely He Kexin, participating in the Olympic games may be younger than the 16 years old that is the official limit:
Chinese officials responded immediately, providing The New York Times with copies of passports indicating that both athletes in question — He Kexin, a gold-medal favorite in the uneven parallel bars, and Jiang Yuyuan — are 16, the minimum age for Olympic eligibility since 1997.
Their allegations are backed up by stories in the Chinese news, like Uneven-bars queen the new star in town from China Daily May 23, 2008:
Olympic gymnastics title contenders suddenly have one more thing to worry about other than the eight gold medals China claimed at the Tianjin World Cup last week. Her name is He Kexin.
The 14-year-old newcomer to the national team, who was recruited last year, has raised a lot of eyebrows recently after she broke two world records on the uneven bars in as many months. She will be just one more weapon on an already star-studded Chinese Olympic squad.
The gymnast He Kexin is definitely young looking–as evidenced by the above photo–but what advantage does a gymnast gain from being younger? I can only imagine that a few years of age would give her greater skill, and make her more formidable, not the other way around. The New York Times should seriously consider reviewing their policy of demonizing China before the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
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