The C Score (2.0)

Oh, it is so on! FIG broadens Chinese investigation

Posted on: September 24, 2008

According to this AP article, the FIG has decided to expand its investigation of Chinese gymnasts’ age to the 2000 team, which means big trouble for the Chinese.

Recall that Yang Yun admitted last year that she was 14 at the Sydney Olympics.

It’s slow reaction time, but they are saying that information from before the Games has led them to this decision:

“If we had a look at all the articles that came before, during and after the games, there were always rumors about the ages of China’s athletes in Sydney,” Andre Gueisbuhler, secretary general of the International Gymnastics Federation, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“We did not have another choice,” he said. “If we want to remain credible, then we have to look into things.”

Here is the story where Yang Yun admits to being 14.

ETA: There are really three parts of this story to comment on, and I think it’s important to keep them separate.

The first is whether the FIG should be further investigating this matter.  Although a number of pieces of evidence point to falsification, China has supplied the FIG with proof of age as required by the organization’s bylaws.  If China were not a notoriously secretive autocracy, it is less likely that we would be having this conversation, which begs the question of whether it is within the tradition of international sport and the Olympic Games to essentially suggest that the word of a national government is not sufficient.

Second, if it is decided that the Chinese ages were in fact falsified, we must consider what actions — and sanctions, if any — are appropriate.

Finally, this issue returns us to the question of whether there should be an age limit for senior elite international competition — and therefore participation in the Olympic games.  As can be seen from the reactions of the likes of Bela Karolyi on this one, believing that the Chinese should be sanctioned for falsification does not necessarily imply agreement with the policy.

So, those are the three things to consider.  What do you think?  I’ll give my perspective in coming posts.

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1 Response to "Oh, it is so on! FIG broadens Chinese investigation"

1. I think the sports federation has a responsibility to be realistic and not just take a government’s words. Remember the Chinese nationals in swimming a few years ago, where that sport decided to throw out all the time record set, because it was apparent that rampant roiding was going on.

2. Disqualification of the team and of any implicated individual medals. They have to return them and the next country up gets them (treat it like doping for track relays). Some sort of sanction also for future competition for the nation.

3. I’m torn on this. I think adult women are more sexually attractive and even aesthetically it is bizarre to be watching kids versus adults. That said, it is very hard to enforce and is also rather arbitrary and keeps the best competitors out. There is also the issue of overtraining of children as well. It is a conundrum.

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