Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Are the Chinese Gymnasts Underage?--UPDATE W/NEW PICTURES

He Kexin
Jiang Yuyuan

UPDATE: A picture comparison of other Chinese Athletes is at the bottom of page

Claims that He Kexin and Jian Yuyuan are under the minimum age requirement of 16 to compete on the Chinese Gymnastics team have been raised in the months leading up to the Olympic games. After the Chinese win over the American team last night, these allegations are re-surfacing with shocking results.

When these allegations were originally brought to light, the Chinese government was quick to provide passports, passports the government itself issues, verifying the ages of the two girls. Olympic officials confirmed that the passports listed their ages as 16 and that their was nothing more that they could do. However are there other documents listing the girls as younger than 16? The doubters range from the USA Gymnastics Team, to fans of the sport, to Chinese press themselves.

According to the New York Times there are many documents listing the girls as being too young to compete, including documents from the country of China. Online records from the Chinese Government as well as Chinese media list the girls as young as 14 years old. Earlier this year Chinese newspapers profiled the athletes, and they listed He Kexin as 14 years old. The New York Times (article linked by clicking on title for this blog) states that they have found two online records, one the official registration list of gymnasts, lists He Kexin's birth date as January 1 1994, and a second list is a 2007 national registry of Chinese gymnasts that also lists He Kexin's birth date as January 1 1994. The case builds further against He Kexin, as a competition in the city of Chengdu, China also lists He Kexin's birth date as nothing other than January 1 1994. The China Daily also listed He Kexin's age as 14. He Kexin's passport which was issued in February 2008, lists her birth date as January 1 1992.

Jiang Yuyuan's age is also in question. Jiang's passport, which was issued in March 2006, lists her birth date as November 1 1991 (it seems all the best Chinese gymnasts are born on the first of months). The International Herald Tribune reports that Jiang Yuyuan appears on a list of junior competitors from the Zhejiang Province sports administration. The Tribune says that this list includes national identification card numbers which have birth dates embedded into them. The number on this list confirms Jiang Yuyuan's birth date as October 1 1993, which means that Jiang Yuyuan will not be 15 until this October after the Olympics.

But why exactly is it a competitive edge to be younger? This is simple to answer. Nellie Kim, a five time Olympic gold medalist and the current President of the women's technical committee for the International Gymnastics Federation, says that younger gymnasts are lighter and psychologically they are less afraid when performing difficult maneuvers.

However China is still sticking to the fact that they have provided passports which confirm the girls as being 16 years of age and thus old enough to compete. But is it really a far stretch to think that People's Republic of China does not have the ability to alter birth dates, or fake passports which they themselves issue? In such an authoritarian country it is not hard to imagine that they have altered documents in order to make the country look good. In fact we know that presenting the best face is of the utmost importance to the Chinese government. There has already been criticism for the fake fireworks display of feet marching towards the Olympic stadium as well as the scandal of the 9 year old girl who lip synced a song that was originally sang by a 7 year old Chinese girl. The 7 year old was not allowed to sing on television because she was not flawless, she had buck teeth. In this instance a Chinese official from the politburo is quoted as saying
"We should all understand it like this: it is a question of the national interest.

Where the American gymnasts cheated out of gold? The evidence speaks for itself. Would China intentionally cheat, falsify, and do something that would intentionally harm others? That evidence also speaks for itself

Compare the first two pictures, which are He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan, the two girls who ages are in question and whom the Chinese government claim are 16 years old. The compare the three photos following that of other Chinese Olympic team athletes, two of them being listed as 16 and one them just turning 17 in May (see captions)

He Kexin
Jiang Yuyuan

These three girls are Roulin Chen, He Zi, Huijia Chen and . Roulin Chen's birth date is listed as December 12, 1992, which makes her 15 years of age. This is in compliance because an athlete must be 16 or turning 16 in the year of the Olympics. He Zi's birth date is listed as January 11 1992, making her 16 years old. Huijia Chen's birth date is listed as May 1991 which would make just over 16 years old.

Roulin Chen, 16
He Zi, 16

Huijia Chen, 17

Does the Chinese Government expect us to believe that the two gymnasts are really 16 when they look much younger than there team mates who are actually 16 or just over 16 years of age. China, you are fooling no one.

America--Land that I Love,

New York Times
International Herald Tribune
My Observations at watching the Olympic games


  1. Gee, I guess it's not possible in any way to beat the invincible Americans? If the Chinese won, they HAVE to be cheating. Gee, I wonder why all those newspaper sources do not have solid proof that the Chinese are under-age? Now all of a sudden you are an age-expert? Has it occured to you that the Chinese were simply better than the Americans on that day? Being sour grapes about it won't change that.

  2. Please note that I am not disputing that those girls were good. They were quite good, but if these girls are underage than yes, they cheated. America is not invincible, if that were the case we would have all the medals and that is not the case either.

    And all of those sources were not newspaper, a lot of those sources verifying age were from Chinese sources, read the whole article and it will tell you where the info came from.

    Being sour grapes will not change it, but what will change it is if these girls are underage, which more and more people believe they are, than an investigation will change it. Understand, I welcome these girls to compete when they are of age, they will give us a wonderful show, but only when they are of age.

    Thanks for the comment though, next time don't be anonymous.

  3. Hi Anthony, Came here from Old NFO's link. Great post! My wife and I have sat here and watched every minute of the gymnast competition and fully agree with your post! Those two and a couple others look way to young to be 16. I have four grandaughters of the same age group 12-16 to look at and compare against the Chinese kids. No way in hell are they 16!
    I also have a blog called Island Voice at the blogspot IP, and I am infested with anonymouse posters who are to chicken to even dream up a ficticious,(sp) name!

    I'll be back now and again to keep up with you. Regards, Everett R Littlefield. Block Island, RI. USA!!

  4. Why are people comparing the gymnasts to other 16 year old kids? If it's an advantage in gymnastics to have a smaller stature, then gymnasts should be smaller than the average person of the same age. Just as the average basketball player is taller. Aside from how they look, is there any ACTUAL proof that they are underage?


  5. Yes, there is proof. This post was one of the first I had written but I have written a few after this that show proof, including proof that has prompted the IOC to investigate. Please read later postings of this blog about this topic.


  6. Well, Jiang Yuyuan has always been tiny. Her parents made her train hoping it would get her to eat more, so of course she'll look young. By the way, not everyone looks their age. Even American girls sometimes look too young. Also, He Kexin is quite mature, she doesn't easily cry (of course, everyone cries when they fall in prelims), and she doesn't show her nerves. Also, Jiang gained weight in 2009, at the Taiwan Exhibition she looked like she was 18. And they're shorter and thinner than some gymnasts, so of course they'll look young. Maybe some people are just jealous that they're talented and beautiful and sweet. They're good sports, and they don't get mad when they get silver medals on UB...Anyways, people are so prejudiced. The FIG got suspicious when no records said Deng Linlin was underage but she looked young. So what? And if you said these girls were 14 in 2008, that would be hard to believe. Don't go kidding yourself saying they look that old. Kexin looks like a 10-year-old and Jiang looks like a 12-year-old at most.


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