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Friday, August 22, 2008

Will They Actually Find Anything?

Since before the women's gymnastics Olympic events even began in Beijing, there have been accusations that at least one of the Chinese gymnasts isn't as old as her passport claims. Now, almost two weeks after the competition began, the International Olympic Committee is opening an investigation. I guess that's easy for them to do now- Mike Walker, a computer analyst, did most of the investigating for them.
The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up the true age of their gold-medal winning gymnastics star because she was too young to compete. 

An IOC official told The Times that because of "discrepancies" that have come to light about the age of He Kexin, the host nation’s darling who won gold in both team and individual events, an official inquiry has been launched that could result in the gymnast being stripped of her medals. 

The investigation was triggered as a US computer expert claimed yesterday to have uncovered Chinese government documents that he says prove she is only 14 - making her ineligible to compete in the Olympics - rather than 16, as officials in Beijing insist is her age. 

Mike Walker, a computer security expert, told The Times how he tracked down two documents that he says had been removed from a Chinese government website. The documents, he said, stated that He’s birth date was January 1 1994 - making her 14 - and not January 1 1992, which is printed in her passport. 
Kind of hard to pretend that there's no problem, isn't it? Not even the IOC can ignore some of what's been found.  But they might be taking the easy way out- they asked the Internation Gymnastics Federation to look into it, and the IGF is the group of rocket scientists who put judges in the Olympics events who have never come close to medaling in those events. Makes perfect sense to me.

The fact that China might have been less than honest about the gymnast's age shouldn't actually surprise anyone. I mean, they're a communist country- it's what they do. They lied about cleaning up the air and insuring internet freedom in order to be awarded the Olympics in the first place. They lied about tickets being sold out for all events, if the empty seats in some of the stands are any indication. Why should this be any different? (FYI, China is lying about at least one gymnast... maybe more...)

Just wondering... if the IOC concludes that China is lying about He's age, then she will be stripped of her medals. What happens to the team medal? Does the entire team lose it, or just her?

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