Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chinese Gymnastics Controversy

With all the debate regarding the ages of the Chinese gymnasts, I thought that I should bring up this argument to those who believe they are underage: the gymnasts might just look younger than they actually are. I know that this has been said many times already, but, unlike others, I have evidence to support this claim. Have a look at this photo of Chinese gymnast Cheng Fei, taken just this past week at a medal ceremony. When I first saw her, I thought that she might have been 13 years old. Not true; she's actually a ripe 20 years of age, born May 28, 1988, only 2 years after Usain Bolt and a whole 4 years before Shawn Johnson. In addition, there have never been any disputes about her birthdate or any suggestions that the government modified her birth records, so we can be pretty sure that she was actually born in 1988. Anyway, if Cheng Fei, a 20 year old, can look 13, why can't He Kexin or Yang Yilin be 16 years old? Maybe they just look younger than they are. Yes, this observation doesn't dispel any of those uncovered archived documents, but it does present an interesting alternative explanation to this whole dilemma.

photo credits: http://images.china.cn/images1/200607/349041.jpg

7 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I have never really considered that people can look so young. I mean you're telling me that girl is 20...wow! There's really no way of knowing how old these Chinese gymnasts are since the government could easily alter all records on such individuals.

Anonymous said...

the girl in that picture looks older than the rest... look at He Kexin - she looks no older than 13...and some of these athletes competed in the Junior World Championships which means they just aren't old enough 2 play in the olympics...

stephanie said...

I AGREE WITH YOU.
i barely look 16 :/

Chad said...

According to my trusty source, wikipedia, "before the 2008 Olympics, He's age was reported by the Chinese press, including the state news service, Xinhua, as 13 in 2007 and 14 in 2008 in news articles that were later taken off-line. Her birthdate has also been given on several registration lists of the General Administration of Sport in China, the Chengdu Sports Bureau and other registration sources as "1994-1-1" (January 1, 1994), which would make her 14 years, 220 days old during the Opening ceremonies, and therefore too young to participate in the 2008 Summer Olympics. In addition, in a November 2007 speech in Wuhan, Chinese sporting official Liu Peng introduced He as a 13-year-old."

.....the plot thickens

Evan M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan M said...

The girl in the picture definitely looks older than 13.

james said...

stephanie: thanks for agreeing!

chad: i won't deny that there were documents listing their birth dates as being in 1993 and 1994, but according to the government, they were typos and mistakes...however, i'm not sure if i believe that or not
.....the plot further thickens

evan: ok, she might look a little older than 13, but does she really look like she's 20? my point is just that there are people who just look younger than they actually are.