Thursday, August 21, 2008

The age issue

About time. The IOC is FINALLY launching an investigation into the underage gymnast thing.

I've had a hard time coming to terms with the Chinese underage issue. If China had any dignity, they would have pulled He with an "injury" the minute the evidence surfaced and saved face. No one would have cared about the age thing if He Kexin wasn't actually competing; the issue would have been dropped and lord knows they could have replaced her with the ten other girls back at the training center who are just as good.

But instead, they acted with arrogance. I don't normally agree with Bela Karolyi because he's ummm, well kind of crazy sometimes, but on this - I agree. To parade 4 girls in front of your country, one of whom recently lost a tooth, and blatantly lie about their ages in hopes of more gold is insane. It's just insane. I knew that He Kexin was too young for the Olympics a year ago. And I'm just a fan with no inside knowledge, inside spies, inside anything. Ok - I'm an uber-fan, but still. How is that I could know this and the IOC completely ignores it?

It's the IOC's own fault for waiting until AFTER the competition to investigate. But now it sucks for the sport. Because now it's in the spotlight. And gymnastics will get a bad rap - again. Ugh. It's terrible for the sport. I think that's why I was so willing to ignore it and just make jokes about it.

I think that China was a better team and they deserved to win - and I'm glad that they won - but the attitude is now driving me nuts. There was an article that I can't find now - but it was a Chinese coach saying that you couldn't go off of looks alone to determine the ages of the Chinese... that if you went off of looks alone, then you would say that the entire US women's gymnastics team was on steroids.


So now I'm just pissed about the arrogance. How can you parade around those young kids, lie about their age and then gloat about their victories? Gymnastics is a sport for small bodies and young girls because it's just so dang hard to do - but the rules are in place that you have to be 16 in order to compete and the rest of the world is coping with that. Broken - but they're coping. Two Americans went down with terrible ankle injuries in the practice sessions just days before the competition - it's a tough sport. And the age rules suck but they are what they are (and should change). America had two great girls who weren't 16 yet and so were left home.

I also find it hilarious that while evidence has come to light about He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and Ying Lilin - nothing has come up about Deng Linlin who is the size of a teapot (and is the one missing a tooth).

I just love watching these girls compete - the "artistic" part of artistic gymnastics is a thing of the past, but the Chinese girls bring back the beauty. Perfect positions, attention to line and toe point, it's just gorgeous. Too bad they're so young they haven't even learned long division yet.

Oh wait - I still can't do long division. Never mind.

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