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YOUR RESPONSE: Olympics Women's Gymnastics - China Too Under-aged?
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Posted 8/13/08 , edited 8/13/08
If you follow the Olympic's Gymnastic, I'm sure you've heard issues regarding the age China's women's gymnastics team. If you don't the article below will give you an insight.






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Chinese gymnasts shine, but black cloud hovers over gold medal


BEIJING -- The night before the showdown with the Chinese, the U.S. women's gymnastics team gathered in Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin's room in the Olympic Village and watched the movie Miracle, which tells the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team's miraculous gold medal run.

It was supposed to get them into a we-can-do-anything mode. And for a while it seemed to work. The U.S. came out Wednesday morning and took an early lead over the favored Chinese in the first apparatus of the team finals by more than half a point, with Bridget Sloan, Alicia Sacramone, and Johnson all landing good, clean vaults.

They followed that up with three good routines on the uneven bars: Chellsie Memmel starting it off with a solid 15.725, Johnson following with a steady 15.350, then Liukin reeling off a stunning 16.90. The Americans were six for six in hitting their routines, and the pressure fell squarely on the backs of the young Chinese.

And we do mean young. Their passports are issued by a Chinese government that is very, very interested in winning lots and lots of gold medals, so while they may say they're 15 or 16, five of the six team members have the appearance of pre-pubescent children. "The little babies," coach Martha Karolyi refers to the Chinese gymnasts when speaking to her team, and she does mean 'little.' Li Shanshan (16) is 4-foot-9, 79 pounds. Yilin Yang (15) is 4-foot-11, 77 pounds. He Kexin (16) is 4-foot-8, 73 pounds. Yuyuan Jiang (16) is 4-foot-7, 71 (!) pounds. But the prize goes to Deng Linlin (16), who's listed at 4-foot-6 and a strapping 68 pounds. She could take a nap in Yao Ming's sneaker. Poor thing's also missing a tooth. Please, someone send baby food.

But can they ever fly from the uneven bars! The baby-faced trio of Jiang, Yang, and He looked like little acrobats, whirling around the bars like spider monkeys, switching hand holds, spinning backwards, flipping left and right. After Jiang's 15.975, Yang put up a roof-raising 16.80 which was then trumped by He's 16.85. The resulting total of 49.625 put the Chinese ahead of the Americans by a solid 1.125 points with only two rotations left.

It didn't look good, but Cheng Fei, the one member of the Chinese team who competed four years ago in Athens, gave the U.S. hope when she fell off early in her beam routine and scored just 15.15. Li and the tiny Deng, though, followed that up with strong beam routines, leaving the Americans with no room for error.

Sacramone, 20, first up for the Americans, made short work of the suspense, falling as she tried a front pike mount off a springboard onto the beam. Afterwards Karloyi explained that Sacramone had lost her focus after twice being forced to wait by beam officials after her name had been announced.

"They put her name up with a stop sign," an animated Karolyi said. "She couldn't go once, she couldn't go twice, and in my opinion it was intentional. Alicia's a little bit too emotional. I told her, 'they tried to break your focus, and you let them do it.'"

Long delays while the judges deliberate are not uncommon in gymnastics, and in any event, the gymnasts are supposed to handled any eventuality, regardless of the situation. Liukin and Johnson, dependable as ever, followed Sacramone's 15.10 routine with two great beam performances, scoring 15.975 and 16.175, respectively, to enable the Americans to narrow the gap slightly on the Chinese. So with the floor event remaining, the U.S. trailed the host country by exactly one point.

It wasn't a good situation to be in, since the Chinese had outscored the U.S. in the floor during the preliminaries. But it certainly wasn't an impossible deficit to overcome. Sacramone, who was the team captain and the team's spiritual leader, again was first up. But she hadn't put the fall off the beam completely behind her, and again she committed a fatal gaffe, under-rotating an Arabian on her second tumbling pass and falling backwards. "I don't know what happened on floor," she said afterwards, fighting back tears. "I thought my feet were under me on that Arabian, and the next thing I knew I was on my back."

She stepped out of bounds on her final pass, but the damage had already been done. Sacramone's 14.125 on floor sealed the deal on any realistic hopes of a comeback. Liukin and Johnson also stepped out during their otherwise solid floor routines, but those small deductions only mattered in determining the final margin of the Chinese victory. Afterwards, in a touching moment, Johnson slipped her arm through Sacramone's and lay a consoling head on her shoulder. Then she said something that made Sacramone laugh, no small trick at that juncture.

"Usually it's Alicia who's keeping everyone else up," Liukin said. "So it was kind of different for us to be doing it to her this time. She kept telling us she was sorry, so sorry, but we still love her. And we still have a silver medal, which is great. China had fewer mistakes than we did. It was their day to shine."

And shine they did, the little pixies, to the delight of the 19,000-some pro-Chinese crowd that packed the National Indoor Stadium, roaring at every tumbling pass of the final three Chinese gymnasts. The final margin of victory over the U.S. was a comfortable 2.375 points, 188.90 to 186.525. The bronze went to Romania, which scored 181.525.

So the Chinese women have their first-ever Olympic team gold medal. Good for them. But their prize will always be viewed under a cloud of suspicion -- prior to these Games, several publications, most notably the New York Times, found evidence that at least two of the Chinese gymnasts were only 14, two years younger than the Olympic minimum -- and to some extent the image of gymnastics has suffered a black eye. The Olympics is, above all else, based on the principles of fair competition, and the promotion of healthy bodies through sport. There is something mildly discomfiting about the sight of such tiny youngsters weighed down by the hopes of a nation, even after the gold medals are hanging around their feathery necks.


Source:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/olympics/2008/writers/em_swift/08/13/china.us/?eref=sircrc






My Response:


Why is there issue about these Chinese women's gymnastic team and their age? Are those who seem to have a problem with it only intimidated by it? I always believed that one should be measured by their talents first despite their age. China's gymnastics is practiced when these kids were at the age of 3-4 so they are likely more than qualified by the age of 14-15.

Those girls have done a great job managing their team througout the Olympic competitions and they well-deserved the gold medal and that is despite their age! In a way, you could say that USA (from age 16-20) were beaten by a team that were atleast 2 years younger then ALL of them. Doesn't that sound worst?

Being an Olympic and a gymnastics fan, I am quite offended by this inconsiderate, disrespectful, and a bit biased article towards the Chinese womens gymnastic's team. China won the gold fairly and it was clearly USA's major mistakes that deserved them the silver, respectively!

In addition, wouldn't most of you agree that Asian's tend to look younger than the average person? Of course, this doesn't apply for everyone but generally, it is believed so. There are other articles that says they have proven that atleast 3-4 of the Chinese women's gymnastics team are underaged which contradicts with the Olympics age qualifications but the passports of these girls stated they were 16. Other than Cheng Fei (20), I instantly believed that the other girls seemed too young to be 16 but that notion dissappeared after I saw how talented and determined they were in what (one of the things) they do best, gymnastics.

Avoiding over-analyzing defining how a 16-year-old should look like or act, I watched how this Chinese team handled pressure against USA and how they managed to stay on top with such ease during the pre-eliminary rounds. Whether or not the ages in the passports were fabricated or not, Olympians should be measured by their talents and not by their age. Ultimately, the Chinese women's Olympic gymnastic team accomplished and well-deserved the gold and they did it with passion.

Many also question China's human rights towards the idea of 3-4 year old's elite training that are equivalently taught by the age of 10-12 in the US and other parts of the world. I agree at some level but it definitely paid off this Olympic year!!! Many would also agree that both the men and the women's Chinese gymnastics team should receive the respect and recognition that they deserve without biased or prejudice!




* I've responded to the writer of the article...


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Personally, I don't expect a reply from the article's writer but I surely hope he acknowledges my response to his article!



What are your thoughts? Share them!!!





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Posted 8/13/08
TLDR

Ummm, aren't all the athletes screened before they'd be able to participate in the Olympics? If so, what are they yapping about? If China's gymnasts won, then they won. Jealous contingencies should just shut it or whatnot.
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19 / M / 大迷宮
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Posted 8/13/08
They're already IN the Olympics. >_>
Posted 8/13/08
sigh. there is nothing wrong with their age, as long as they got the talent.
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21 / M / where goodlooking...
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Posted 8/13/08
WTF?! They're a bunch of kiddos.
Without doubt young people are more hyper compared to matured ones.
I guess each country has their own tactics.
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Posted 8/13/08
That article was simply disrespectful towards that team! I still believe that it's ridiculous that it seems like they are measuring the Chinese women's team by their age instead of their talent. That article was so biased!

I'm even more glad that they won the gold to show that age doesn't matter!!!
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Posted 8/13/08 , edited 8/13/08
The guys obviously upset that "his team" didn't win. and used China's brilliant young talent as his escape goat.

load of bull.

edit. i bet he's a american too. crappy CNN
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22 / M / in your face :P
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Posted 8/13/08
another idiotic "US" report trying to discredit china again when will they learn
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24 / F / West Ar Rifa`
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Posted 8/13/08
hummmm *no comment*
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F / NYC
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Posted 8/13/08
Some of them look don't really look 16, I'll admit that, but is there really a need for that article? It feels like it's just a way to justify themselves not winning. Shessh. They say that age matters since the younger you are, the more risk you'll take, but they're all Olympic level gymnast, they're all taking a lot of risk with their routine, that's what got them there.
Posted 8/13/08 , edited 8/13/08
I smell jealousy!

I didnt read this thread properly (coz it was so long) so i thought was a hating thread. my apologies to OP.
I swear CNN is seriously racist/biased against China! Join my anti-CNN group now!
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Posted 8/13/08

Shinjy wrote:

I smell jealousy!

I didnt read this thread properly (coz it was so long) so i thought was a hating thread. my apologies to OP.


the article is from CNN i think.

Posted 8/13/08
^ there's CNN in d url so i think so
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Posted 8/13/08

Shinjy wrote:

I smell jealousy!

I didnt read this thread properly (coz it was so long) so i thought was a hating thread. my apologies to OP.




There's no harm done so I deleted my reply already!

After reading another article, I think the Olympics commitee or whoever was in charge of the gymnastics age qualifications should have been more aware of the situation before misunderstandings or false accusations are made. I think they should also take responsibility for it and even there's no way but assume whether or not there is truth to these allegations, respect should be shown for the Chinese women's gymnastic team for winning the gold medal. Unfortunately, meaningless and disrespectful articles such as the one posted above are available to further cause misunderstandings! Ridiculous!!!

I just hope people realize that they won the gold fairly more than anything else!!! It'll be really sad if the Olympics committee strip them away from their well-deserved gold medals.
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Posted 8/13/08

Shinjy wrote:

^ there's CNN in d url so i think so




The Cnn article was just added to 'support' his article. I've already written a response to the Cnn article, as well, so hopefully I'll get a response from them rather than the other article.
Posted 8/13/08
^ init! the girls trained hard so they shud deserve gold!
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