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A variety of screenshots provided by Stryde Hax, allegedly proving gymast He Kexin to be two years underage to participate in the 2008 Olympics.  (Source: Stryde Hax)
Proving once again that search engines can be some of the greatest hacking tools on the internet

A clever search engine hacker says he’s located primary source documents, provided by the Chinese government, that contain proof of an age-related cover-up on behalf of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team.

Working under the pseudonym “Stryde Hax” and posting to his blog, he says he was able to download spreadsheets previously deleted by the Chinese government by pulling up a cached copy stored on Chinese search-engine Baidu.

Stryde’s Blogger profile describes him as a consultant for security firm Intrepidus Group, and says he spends his spare time “[finding] things on web servers that were never meant to be found.”

His efforts focused specifically on gold-medal winning gymnast He Kexin, whose age is widely reported to be 16 years old. He’s passport lists her date of birth to be January 1, 1992 – however reports from a variety of news sources, including Chinese English-language newspaper China Daily, previously showed her birthday to be January 1, 1994, placing her age at a disqualifying 14 years old. (Many of the original reports allegedly disappeared soon after the scandal initially broke out.)

In order to participate, Olympic gymnasts must be at least 16 years old. The sport has a long history of contestants misrepresenting their age in order to participate in senior-level competitions.

Stryde says the documents he located were originally stored on web servers for the General Administration of Sport of China, however they appear to have been removed after a similar – largely unnoticed – story ran last July in the New York Times. Running a specially constructed search query against Google yielded a handful of results that ended up going nowhere, and Google’s cached data revealed what appeared to him as doctored or missing information. Running the same query against Baidu, however, netted another set of results that, like Google, went nowhere – but unlike Google, contained cached information clearly showing He with a birthday of January 1, 1994.

In response to his calls for urgency – not to mention front page exposure on Slashdot and Digg – Stryde says he’s been overwhelmed with support from readers, many who decided to mirror the spreadsheets on their own before they disappeared off of the web completely.

Of particular interest is a machine-translated version of his findings, which clearly state:

799, BB He Kexin CC female AA 1994.1.01 Beijing and
Beijing Beijing Municipal Sports Bureau, First Note

Regardless of the authenticity of Stryde’s findings – a handful of commenters dispute his claims – it’s possible that should his evidence either prove to be conclusive, or lead to the introduction of even more definitive evidence, then the 2008 Chinese gymnastics scandal could be the next in line to be felled by a relatively new phenomenon called “crowdsourcing,” or tapping into the collective knowledge of the internet. A similar phenomenon may have hastened the retirement of CBS news anchor Dan Rather, who once presented evidence of a story on air that the blogosphere later proved to be false.

At the time of this writing, the cached documents still appear to be online at Baidu.

Update 08/21/2008: Stryde's findings appear to have been the catalyst for a newly-opened, official IOC investigation into He Kexin's age.

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Waits for it...
By JasonMick on 8/21/2008 9:12:40 AM , Rating: 5
I'm so sick of people saying this is some kind of nationalistic/racist thing.

It's plain and simple. Those were the rules. If China broke them, they should lose there medals. Marion Jones lost her track medals for doping years after.

If these actions hold true, China should lose any medals these girls won.

Without rules, sports are meaningless. If you don't like the rules, file to change them, don't cheat.


RE: Waits for it...
By Master Kenobi on 8/21/2008 9:18:11 AM , Rating: 3
The problem is that this is not new for Gymnastics. Several countries have done this, and few actions have been taken to penalize the offending country. There is not a doubt in my mind that at least half of the Chinese gymnasts are below the required age. China wanted to increase their chances of gold medals at the Olympics they were hosting, and they forged some papers to get some younger more nible kids in to help with that.

Frankly, if anyone is surprised by this finding they need to come back down to Planet Earth and Reality.

RE: Waits for it...
By JasonMick on 8/21/2008 9:27:10 AM , Rating: 5
The problem is that this is not new for Gymnastics. Several countries have done this, and few actions have been taken to penalize the offending country.

True, but if you screwed up before, that's not a justification for continuing to screw up.

Hopefully the public attention to this blatantly violation forces the FIG and IOC to police the age restrictions with a bit more effort.

It's like sure baseball players doped for years, but is it bad that the MLB has finally chosen to crack down on it now? No, when there are problems you should try to solve them as opposed to keep messing up.

And no I am not surprised by China doing this. China, must like Russia of old seems to have a mentality where they are willing to succeed at all costs. This can be both good and bad. In this case it is certainly bad.

RE: Waits for it...
By Inkjammer on 8/21/2008 10:12:02 AM , Rating: 5
where they are willing to succeed at all costs. This can be both good and bad .
Sort of like China so adamant on having the best Olympics ever they decided to battle Mother Nature with anti-aircraft guns? That's not smog over Beijing. Just cloud corpses.

RE: Waits for it...
By GoodRevrnd on 8/21/2008 10:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
And no I am not surprised by China doing this. China, must like Russia of old seems to have a mentality where they are willing to succeed at all costs.

Not that there's anything dishonest about this, but it just goes to prove the point. On NPR today they were discussing how China outspent the US 7:1 on Olympic athlete training. They're certainly in this to win.

RE: Waits for it...
By seamonkey79 on 8/22/2008 9:06:51 AM , Rating: 2
They're just trying to pretend to the world that they're a real, first world nation, rather than the still backwards third world nation that manages their slave labour better than any other third world nation.

RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/23/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By Denithor on 8/25/2008 6:32:53 PM , Rating: 3
And just how many white and red and yellow "slaves" are out there alongside the black ones to whom you refer? I personally think it's good to put convicts to work. They made a conscious decision to break the law, make 'em pay for it (and hard labor is a good way to do it).

RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: Waits for it...
By Kenenniah on 8/26/2008 10:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
So what, the other option is to let prisoners just relax and chill all day long while I work and pay taxes to cover their expenses? I have to work for a living, why shouldn't they have to? If not, we become more of their slaves.

RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By borismkv on 8/27/2008 6:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about pot calling the kettle black. Have you looked at yourself lately? Maybe you should lay off the peyote.

And I'm sorry, but the pot smoking hippy is not going to be put on labor for getting caught with some dope. They barely spend enough time in prison to miss the next episode of Lost. Drug dealers, the ones who deal in heroin and cocaine (and probably your favorite brand of hashish), are usually also guilty of much much more than just dealing drugs.

Furthermore, if someone is on the road, driving stoned, I have about as much sympathy for them getting busted as a drunk driver. So why don't you take off *your* self-righteous, new-age, happy world of make-believe blinders and get freaking real!

RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/27/2008 11:51:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm calling it like it is: slavery. It's you who is trying to justify it.

It's a cultural genocide that's going on, and plenty of the folks who are rebelling against the Bush/Nixon Reich are getting put into forced labor camps.

Anyways, you're just into mixing your morals. It's ok for the US to put its political prisoners into jail, but not for China. Whatever, I guess that's the norm.

RE: Waits for it...
By borismkv on 8/27/2008 5:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
The constitution draws a very specific line between slave labor and punitive labor. Yes there are black prisoners swinging picks, but they're standing right next to white prisoners who are also swinging picks.

RE: Waits for it...
By redbone75 on 8/22/2008 9:53:35 AM , Rating: 3
Not that there's anything dishonest about this,

Umm... China's using underage athletes to gain an advantage (allegedly <wink>) and is trying to cover it up. Does the meaning of "dishonest" escape you?

It's dishonest, but it doesn't surprise me. They had a stand-in for the vocalist at the opening ceremony b/c she was deemed not cute enough, for cryin' out loud.

RE: Waits for it...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2008 9:28:24 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with both of you. They should lose the medals. As should the Chinese shooter who won 3rd place over an American when he clearly missed up to three targets. The fact that it has happened before does not mean it should be allowed. You hear every year about American medals being contested. Why should any other country not receive the same treatment?

This Olympics China wanted to show they are the dominant power. So they're doing everything they can to do so.

The only tragedy here is that these Chinese girls will be punished for the actions of their government. Granted, they bear part of the blame for going along with it and misrepresenting their age. So I have little pity for them.

RE: Waits for it...
By Sulphademus on 8/21/2008 10:08:06 AM , Rating: 5
Wait, you mean there was an option to not go along with it?

RE: Waits for it...
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2008 10:20:01 AM , Rating: 1
Sure there was - it was presented with a gun to their head though...

Communism :( *shakes head in disgust*

RE: Waits for it...
By Laitainion on 8/21/2008 10:40:15 AM , Rating: 5
No, that's Totalitarianism. Modern Chinese is communist in the same way that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is democratic.

RE: Waits for it...
By NullSubroutine on 8/22/2008 2:51:56 AM , Rating: 1

RE: Waits for it...
By ZmaxDP on 8/21/2008 10:14:26 AM , Rating: 5
"Granted, they bear part of the blame for going along with it and misrepresenting their age. So I have little pity for them. "

This is China, not the USA. These 14 year old girls don't really have an option. The sports organization feeds them, houses them, pays for all their expenses, and if they stood up as you suggest they should the best outcome would be getting dumped on the street penniless and without any real training or education outside of their sport. (They don't get a great education when they are in training 14 hours a day.) More likely their parents and them are threatened with "consequences" so they shut up and do it. Personal responsibility only works in a relatively free society. This is precisely why I'm such a big fan of free societies. You can blame people for their actions instead of "corporations" or "governments." Makes it far easier for a society to punish poor behavior and reward good behavior.

RE: Waits for it...
By Diesel Donkey on 8/21/2008 10:31:55 AM , Rating: 5
Oh, the Chinese government might not be so harsh as to send those girls out on the streets penniless if they stood up against cheating. They government might be kind enough to send them to one of their mind-alteration work camps. They would fed there, and probably clothed, too.

RE: Waits for it...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By bodar on 8/21/2008 2:25:05 PM , Rating: 5
Uhhhh, we're talking about cheating at the Olympics here, not murder. The two are hardly the same.

RE: Waits for it...
By KhaoticAlien on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By winterspan on 8/22/2008 3:03:11 AM , Rating: 1
Oh give me a freaking break -- those situations are not the same. These girls were chosen when they were three or four years old for full time training under the auspices of the government. They basically have zero choice of the matter. Like you would do anything different in the situation.

It amazes me how many totally asinine comments you can pump out of your hamster-wheel in one day...

RE: Waits for it...
By daveinternets on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By Typesno on 8/22/2008 1:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
quit taking what The Colbert Report says and writing it on the internet like you came up with. LOL

RE: Waits for it...
By NullSubroutine on 8/22/2008 2:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe, that is the holy man himself. Stephen H. Colbert....

RE: Waits for it...
By MozeeToby on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By bighairycamel on 8/21/2008 5:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree with taking the medals away from the athletes. Let's face it, even assuming they are aware of the rules (not necissarily a valid assumption)...

It is a valid and proven assumption since the girls have been telling the media that they are 16. If they are in fact younger than that, then that would mean they had been speicifically told to lie so they could compete.

RE: Waits for it...
By Master Kenobi on 8/22/2008 8:43:33 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree with taking the medals away from the athletes.

Give me a freakin break. You cheat, you get caught, you lose the medals. I don't care if you did it willingly, unwillingly, or were forced at gun point. Strip them of their medals.

RE: Waits for it...
By Aloonatic on 8/22/2008 9:06:05 AM , Rating: 2
That sounds like what could easily happen if this was to occur during the London 2012 Olympics and the UK authorities had to make the decision.

The way that "competition" is such a dirty word in the UK these days, I wouldn't be surprised to see words like "winner" and "loser" being banned as it might make someone sad.

They would almost certainly replace the gold, silver and bronze medals with a steel medal for everyone who turns up, just for being super and "having a go", given half a chance.

Seriously though, they knew. It's highly unlikely that they don't know the rules but even if they didn't, they still cheated. Ignorance is no excuse.

RE: Waits for it...
By winterspan on 8/22/2008 2:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you for the most part, except you have to remember these are children, and they have been trained since they were three or four years old. I guarantee the state has much more control and influence over them and their families than the equivalent in any western country, so I wouldn't necessarily hold them responsible for misrepresenting their age.

Anyways, I also agree with the OP saying he's sick of this being cast as an issue of nationalism or racism. You can guarantee if this type of scandal came out of the American team, there would be all kinds of hollering going on.

RE: Waits for it...
By Oregonian2 on 8/22/2008 3:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that this is not new for Gymnastics. Several countries have done this, and few actions have been taken to penalize the offending country. There is not a doubt in my mind that at least half of the Chinese gymnasts are below the required age. China wanted to increase their chances of gold medals at the Olympics they were hosting, and they forged some papers to get some younger more nible kids in to help with that. Frankly, if anyone is surprised by this finding they need to come back down to Planet Earth and Reality.

That same argument could be used to justify doping. Doping okay?

RE: Waits for it...
By Hiawa23 on 8/21/2008 9:22:14 AM , Rating: 5
I really loved watching the Chinese girls perform in this year's Olympic gymnastics, & I remember saying to myself, these girls look so much younger than the American girls, but they were great & if China did break the rules the medals ought to be taken away, & this has nothing to do with race, or anything else. Their country is so much different than the States as it seems that the government controls everything, & if anyone there says anything, they could be killed or vanish.

RE: Waits for it...
By Screwballl on 8/21/2008 11:04:22 AM , Rating: 4
I think this is a big part of it... I suspect many of the judges are being bought out or otherwise compromised... these judges are afraid that if they give bad scores they will disappear or have an "accident"... so we may see that after the Olympics are over, a separate panel of judges will go over the routines and strip China of at least 10-20 medals just based on performance.. plus more being lost due to the age scandal that is only now taking place.

RE: Waits for it...
By Regs on 8/21/2008 9:24:52 AM , Rating: 2
I think a lot of people just feel sorry for them. It would be like taking a candy bar away from an Iraqi boy.

In America, where competivness is part of everyday life, we can't tolerate cheating. We should know better.

I guess since American's don't want to be pictured as the big bully, we actually would like to see some one else win. Kind of like the Giant's kicking the crap out of the Cowboy's and Patriot's (and accusing patriots of cheating of course).

RE: Waits for it...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By Regs on 8/21/2008 9:40:22 AM , Rating: 5
And 21-17 in the Cowboys vs. Giants game last year is hardly an @sskicking.

Still bitter?

RE: Waits for it...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2008 1:26:39 PM , Rating: 1
No just don't say we got our asses kicked when it was a very good and close game. Same with the Super Bowl.

I like the Cowboys win or lose. Obviously prefer them to win though.

RE: Waits for it...
By ZmaxDP on 8/21/2008 10:25:16 AM , Rating: 5
Tell me about it. People talk about the values of our country being based on the idea that everyone is equal. This is utter BS.

"...created equal" does not equate to always equal.
"...equal opportunity" does not equate to equal success.

Our politicians these days seem to talk about the results being guaranteed rather than the right to try and get them being guaranteed. Drives me freakin' crazy. This kind of drivel has caused a shift in this country's consciousness that we are all entitled to whatever we want regardless of what we do.

We are all equal in two senses only - we come in with the chance to do whatever we can and get rewarded accordingly. After that, we're all equally different.

(Well, I supposed I do know a few people who are disproportionately different...)

RE: Waits for it...
By retrospooty on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By piroroadkill on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By Master Kenobi on 8/21/2008 9:46:35 AM , Rating: 3
The problem is that younger girls are more flexible and have an advantage because their bodies are smaller and less developed. That is the reason for age minimums in Gymnastics. The body of a 12 or 14 year old is far superior in gymnastics than the body of a 16 or 20 year old. The way the gymnasts are scored, younger undeveloped bodies have a large advantage.

RE: Waits for it...
By Entropy42 on 8/21/2008 9:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
This is a really flawed argument. Natural advantages should be regulated? What about banning everyone under 30 then, because they are naturally more fit than older competitors. I would guess that the regulation has more to do with the fact that younger bodies may be damaged by training, but I don't know. I just hope its not actually because they have an age advantage.

RE: Waits for it...
By bighairycamel on 8/21/2008 10:05:47 AM , Rating: 4
Another reason mentioned was their younger undeveloped muscles were more susceptible to harsh injuies; injuries that would effect the gymnast for the rest of their life. At 14 gymnasts should still be training skills, not doing whole routines. At the risk of sounding cliche, since when has the Chinese government cared about the wellbeing of a citizen?

RE: Waits for it...
By DASQ on 8/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: Waits for it...
By Aloonatic on 8/21/2008 11:24:13 AM , Rating: 2
Training and competition are 2 completely different things.

Gymnastics is probably one of the most dangerous sports in the Olympic games.

When things go wrong, they can go very wrong and an inexperienced gymnast may well do something that she is not capable of on the say so of a coach.

I think the main reason for the age rule is to remove the temptation for coaches to use drugs and horemones to inhibit the natural growth of the girls for the reasons stated else where.

If they are expected to be over 14 and therefore have relatively mature bodies there is little point in keeping their physical shape to that of a child for as long as possible, as happened in the past.

RE: Waits for it...
By bighairycamel on 8/21/2008 11:45:05 AM , Rating: 2
First of all, it's not an argument, it's what was stated by the FIG.

Second, training skills and doing routines are very physically different. Learning how to do a flip off the high bar with 24 inches of mat underneath you in a controlled training environment is very less risky than doing multiple skills tied together with only 6 inches of padding underneath you and no one there to catch you.

RE: Waits for it...
By VaultDweller on 8/21/2008 7:59:45 PM , Rating: 1
Nah, that reasoning doesn't fly. Junior level gymnasts are judged on the same criteria as senior level gymnasts and perform the same maneuvers. They'd be doing the same thing whether they're competing against older athletes or not, so there's no reduction in risk - just a reduction in reward.

RE: Waits for it...
By rqle on 8/21/2008 9:54:45 AM , Rating: 4
its to protect the gymnist, rules was change so their bone can develope, international community didnt feel it was right for one of them to suffer an injury that can be damaging for the rest of their life.

for other sports in the olympics, any age can compete deem your best of the best. i guess they feel somewhat responsible.

RE: Waits for it...
By kelmon on 8/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: Waits for it...
By akugami on 8/21/2008 10:31:36 AM , Rating: 2
Archery and diving is nowhere near as physically demanding as gymnastics.

RE: Waits for it...
By emboss on 8/21/2008 12:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
You'd actually be surprised about platform diving. At a competitive level, it actually puts pretty significant strains on your body, both from the movements while spinning and from hitting water from 10 metres up. There's only so many times your wrists and shoulders can take the impact until they give out.

RE: Waits for it...
By Souka on 8/21/2008 2:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
Actually...the Chineese platform divers are typically failed Gymnasts...

This came from CBC coverage of the platform divers when they were talking abotu their training background. Something like "Typically these Chinesse divers are gymnasts that found platform diving a better fit".

"found.." "Better fit"... aka, failed Gymnasts

My $.02

RE: Waits for it...
By emboss on 8/21/2008 3:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
"Failed" is probably being a bit harsh. Sort of like calling a 100 m runner a failed 400 m runner. While there are similarities, and skills do transfer somewhat between them, you tend to be intrinsically suited more for one than the other. Most gymnastic disciplines require good anaerobic endurance, whereas diving focuses more on pure power (since you only need to exert yourself for a couple of seconds).

Also, quite a few gymnasts take up diving after suffering lower-body injuries that prevent them from continuing with gymnastics. By moving over to diving, they can work on wrecking their upper body to match :)

Finally, kids are typically introduced to gymnastics at a younger age than diving (not least because most children do not have sufficient elbow development to dive safely under the age of 7 or so), so quite often will have been doing gymnastics before they enter diving.

RE: Waits for it...
By Aloonatic on 8/21/2008 11:00:11 AM , Rating: 3
Rules is rules though, and I doubt that they were invented in case they may annoy the Chinese.

Gymnastics has a less than glorious history when it comes to the treatment of the younger female gymnasts, particularly by the Easter Block countries.

I believe the age limit is essentially a measure intended to protect the Girls both above and bellow 14 years of age.

Comparing the physical impact of gymnastics to archery or even diving isn't really at all fair. A gymnast's body is pushed to the limits and some very bad things can happen. There's plenty of clips on youtube of girls (and boys) landing on their heads and such as they push themselves to the limit when they try to compete.

Sure, when they train they are at risk of injuring themselves but in a big competition the temptation for a girl to push her self too far, purely on the say so of her coach without having the experience of her own body and limits is v dangerous.

One of the other big problems that sport used to have was coaches doping up their girl gymnasts with drugs and hormones to stop their bodies maturing as (as stated above) a girls smaller body is a positive advantage.

If the rules make it so that they are expected to have a fairly mature body this is essentially pointless.

RE: Waits for it...
By amdwilliam1985 on 8/21/2008 10:22:12 AM , Rating: 2
According to your analogy, then I can have a 15 years old kid enter the junior karate tournament(if there is a such thing) and beat the crap out of your 10 years old kid and win the gold medal for it. The "Retarded rule" will prevent such thing from happening.

RE: Waits for it...
By retrospooty on 8/21/2008 12:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
Is a direct combat sport, sure an adult has an advantage over a child. That is why they have age categories in such sports. Even boxing has weight categoreis... But gymnastics is purely skill, and HEAVILYabout practice. Why should age matter?

RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/23/2008 8:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
You've got it backwards. It would be like having your 10 year old kid enter a junior karate tournament with 15 year olds and kicking their collective butts.

Another way to look at it - it would be like Walter Gretzky sending his son into teams with much older and bigger players and then breaking all the scoring records. Damned young kids are taking over the world. What happened to putting them in rooms and locking them in?

RE: Waits for it...
By Diesel Donkey on 8/21/2008 10:35:51 AM , Rating: 2
Do you have any idea how badly gymnastics training can damage a young girl's body? There's also the mental aspect. Asking a 12-year-old to perform on the world stage with her country's hopes and expectations on her shoulders can have serious consequences, especially if things don't work out as planned.

RE: Waits for it...
By retrospooty on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By IGoodwin on 8/21/2008 12:53:43 PM , Rating: 3
I think the point is the competition should be fair. If China used underage contestants because of the 'natural' advantages, then the rest of the world should have been allowed to enter their younger contestants.

RE: Waits for it...
By retrospooty on 8/21/2008 10:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I agree with you there. I was just saying its a dumb rule.

RE: Waits for it...
By Keeir on 8/21/2008 1:29:54 PM , Rating: 2
The problem

Its a "rule". A rule enacted by the governing body of the sport and applied equally to all participants. The rule is clearly written and easy to follow.

Violating the rule is grounds for a DQ. Just like any other rules. If I was caught throwing a discus that wieghed slightly more, I would be disqualified, even though I gained no disernable advantage from the heavier wieght.

RE: Waits for it...
By CloudFire on 8/25/2008 4:03:18 PM , Rating: 2
seriously, i completely agree

some people posting on this thread don't seem to understand that RULES are made by the olympic committee that the WHOLE world has to oblige by to maintain regulations.

it is very simple, if you cheat, you should be DQ for following a basic rule that anyone who is literate could understand.

Gymnasts HAS TO BE 16 years of age or OLDER to compete. last time i checked on the sequential numbering system, 14 is below 16.

on those premises, they should lose their medals. that is all to it.

RE: Waits for it...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2008 1:32:58 PM , Rating: 3
It doesn't matter whether you think they're ready.

The FACT is that the rules say 16. If she's under that then she's not eligible to compete and thus should be stripped of her medal.

Until the rules are changed, they must be abided by. You can argue all you want on whether you agree or not. But they're still there.

Many people think 18 year olds should be allowed to drink in the US. That doesn't mean a kid is less guilty because they chose to ignore it based on that they think its unfair.

RE: Waits for it...
By retrospooty on 8/21/2008 10:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
I know... I agree with you there, not saying China didnt cheat, they did. I just think the rule should not be.

RE: Waits for it...
By smegz on 8/21/2008 1:43:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think an even bigger concern may exist beyond the rules. The IOC accepts government issued passports for age verification. If it is found that the Chinese have deliberately falsified a passport; what light does that put every other official Chinese ID in? A pretty bad one. ID falsification in a post 9/11 world? That's not good.

RE: Waits for it...
By mezman on 8/21/2008 3:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
I think that this is an indication of how the Chinese aren't prepared to have the international media spotlight. They are accustomed to being in complete control of their media and what the state says, is. I don't think they thought anyone would call them on this because, well, it's just not part of their mentality.

I don't think they expected anyone to call them on replacing the little kid with buck teeth who sang in the opening ceremonies with a cuter girl.

I'm totally for stripping the girls of their medals should this case be proven. Now, we'll see if that happens though. I kinda doubt it.

RE: Waits for it...
By Continuation on 8/21/2008 6:09:00 PM , Rating: 1
So just because some random self-proclaimed "hacker" presented some random screen shots that anyone with a computer could've made up in 2 minutes - that means the Chinese gymnasts must be underaged?

So far, there has been no proof whatsoever of the underage allegation. The IOC undertook an investigation and found nothing. The only things you have are rumors and random internet postings. Yet many are presuming China to be guilty. Is this some kind of "nationalistic/racist thing"?

RE: Waits for it...
By Parhel on 8/21/2008 10:35:17 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with that. Before jumping to conclusions, I'd like to see something much more credible.

Also, I'd like to add that I find the fact that her birth date was January 1st to be a little suspicious. Sure, it's possible. In fact I'd bet that about 1 out every 365 people are born on that day. But it just seems like it might be some kind of default information in a database that was never properly filled out.

RE: Waits for it...
By eldakka on 8/22/2008 4:12:42 AM , Rating: 2
A DoB of 1 January isn't really that unusual.

There are many hundreds of millions of people around the world who don't know what year they were born in, let alone the day and month.

In many countries in immigration departments, a DoB on applying for visas etc is in fact not a mandatory field.

However in some countries it is a mandatory field, and in those cases people will make 'best guesses' as to their age, then choose a random DoB within that year they think they were born, and many just choose 01/01.

As to the evidence, as I understand it, documents were found in numerous online locations (newspapers, google, etc) by someone, and when this age was pointed out many of these 'finds' disappeared. THEN some hacker found a cached version of these 'disappeared' documents on the baidu cache.

RE: Waits for it...
By 16nm on 8/21/2008 7:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
No, since China produced false passports for these girls then China should be stripped of ALL of her medals. It is not the 14 year old girl trying to cheat -- it's China.

RE: Waits for it...
By Aloonatic on 8/22/2008 6:10:51 AM , Rating: 2
Gutsy move , you're a shark!

RE: Waits for it...
By VaultDweller on 8/21/2008 8:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
Technically, the FIG rule is that senior level competitors must have a valid passport issued by their home country... which she has.

RE: Waits for it...
By Master Kenobi on 8/22/2008 9:01:08 AM , Rating: 2
Don't give me that. If that was the case, then everyone would be doing it.

RE: Waits for it...
By vxmqzz on 8/23/2008 12:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
Below is quoted from AP:

"The International Olympic Committee said Friday there is still no proof
anyone cheated, but it asked gymnastics officials to investigate “what have
been a number of questions and apparent discrepancies,” spokeswoman
Giselle Davies said. The International Gymnastics Federation asked China to
submit documents that will further substantiate the ages of He Kexin, Yang
Yilin, Jiang Yuyuan, Deng Linlin and Li Shanshan.

The federation said it would forward its conclusions to the IOC. If it finds
evidence that the gymnasts were underage, it could affect four of China’s
six medals. In addition to the team gold and He’s gold on uneven bars, Yang
won bronze medals in the all-around and bars.

“It is in the interests of all concerned, not least the athletes themselves
, to resolve this issue once and for all,” the FIG said in a statement.
click here

So far, however, all the information the Chinese gymnastics federation has
presented supports its insistence that its athletes were old enough to

“We believe the matter will be put to rest and there’s no question … on
the eligibility,” Davies said. “The information we have received seems
satisfactory in terms of the correct documentation—including birth

With the games wrapping up Sunday, the IOC wants to quickly end any
lingering doubts about underage competitors."

Hardly definitive...
By Suomynona on 8/21/2008 10:11:09 AM , Rating: 5
I think this probably is her real birthdate, but since when is a Google cache of an Excel spreadsheet a "primary state-issued document"? It's a good find, but this guy is hyping his discovery a little more than is warranted.

I think it would be great if the IOC did a little more digging than just asking for an (easily-faked) passport, but when they're presented with an official passport and an archived Excel spreadsheet, which do you think they're going to choose?

RE: Hardly definitive...
By Inkjammer on 8/21/2008 10:19:54 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps, but this is the same kind of whistleblowing that gets people looking, investigating. People dig, find answers. The investigating that leads to discovery of dangerous amounts of lead in children's toys, the poisoned Chinese toothpaste containing DEG, contaminated pet food...

Sure, pet food and gymnists have nothing in common, but if people never dig then they never find answers. If she's really 16 what does it matter? She has nothing to fear. If the cached document was found to be legit and deleted to cover it up, then it's just another strike in the book.

The worst crime against He is that she may never have been made aware of her crimes by people so obsessed with winning they used the girl for their own advantages.

RE: Hardly definitive...
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2008 1:34:02 PM , Rating: 1
Oh please. She's gone on television and stated that "I am 16". She's just as guilty about lying as the government is.

RE: Hardly definitive...
By Continuation on 8/21/2008 6:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
And you have proof that she was "lying" in saying "I am 16" how?

Oh please.

RE: Hardly definitive...
By 16nm on 8/21/2008 7:44:09 PM , Rating: 1
You must understand that this is a 14 year old child. She can't be held accountable. It's just not fair.

There's no doubt that these young girls are the real victims here.

RE: Hardly definitive...
By CloudFire on 8/25/2008 4:11:04 PM , Rating: 2
you're kidding right? it's just not fair.
your ignorance is beyond belief.

WHAT IS NOT FAIR is that these girls (if they are really underaged) is that they won gold medals that should have belonged to somebody else.

if they are on the world stage saying they are "16". then they should be held accountable that they are 16.

regardless if they are the victim, what can we do to change that? change the chinese government? hardly.

this is a WORLD EVENT, it must be held on fair grounds for everyone to compete in such an event. the rules are set by an international olympics committee (the IOC) and should be heavily enforced to ensure fair competition. there are no biases from country to country, and why should china have an advantage of having "14" year old gymnasts competing when they are at an advantage putting the world at a disadvantage?

your logic could somewhat resemble US laws, a 17 year old drunk driver hitting and killing someone, "it's just not fair"? they weren't accountable? because they were only a 17 year old kid?

"because i'm 17, i didn't know any better?"

give me a break. if you did the action, prepare for the consequences

Chinese Attitude
By akugami on 8/21/2008 4:08:44 PM , Rating: 2

I think these few articles will give a better understanding of how Chinese think and feel. China is a country rich in culture and one of the ancient cradles of civilization. One of the main things that Westerners (Caucasians) do not understand is that for many in China, there is a resentment of how countries like Britain treated it that still resides within the heart of the people today. Especially since the Chinese consider China one of the greatest countries and that it has been wronged by many injustices done to it by the west.

This shapes the attitudes of the people of China today. There is a lot of national pride and many in China have a very hard work ethic. Working ten hours a day for six days a week is not an uncommon sight even for many Chinese living in America or other countries today. They chose to work this hard. They want to better themselves wherever they are and they want to make sure the world recognizes China as a major power and force to be reckoned with.

I'm not saying some of the stuff China has done to other countries and to its own people is right. However, as an American citizen of Chinese descent, I understand it.

I understand how it can lead to acts such as breaking the rules when possible in order to get ahead. I'm not going to say that China did break the age rules and the evidence is flimsy at best though it does point to the possibility. One thing most need to understand is that Asians for the most part look younger than they really are. Heck, at the age of 30 I still have a lot of people who think I'm 20. And the one Japanese girl I actually saw in the gymnastic competitions looked just as young as the Chinese girls.

*Side Rant. I fooking hate NBC's coverage of the Olympics.

RE: Chinese Attitude
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2008 4:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
I understand how it can lead to acts such as breaking the rules when possible in order to get ahead.

So then many blacks are justified in their racism against whites because they were wronged in the past? And we should give them jobs or admission into college through affirmative action because of those wrongs?

That's basically what you're saying.

RE: Chinese Attitude
By akugami on 8/21/2008 6:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
Nowhere was I condoning the actions and if it came off that way I apoligize. I was merely saying I understand why it happened and the links I pointed to was a very small bit of reading that may help others understand why the infractions happened. Understanding and condoning are two entirely different things. I thought it would give a better perspective on the Chinese instead of falling into typical stereotypes about the Chinese.

One of the links I pointed to specifically showed Chinese in a bad light with racism targeted against Africans. It was an intentional link. I am not trying to show the Chinese as anything other than human. They have their pride in their race and country and it is tempered with indignation over injustices done to it in the past. Which is partially the reason why it acts the way it does today. I am not condoning anything, merely pointing out something that may be of interest.

I myself have felt racism from black people here in the US. While this is not the case with the majority of black people, some of the more vocal ones are quick to point out any injustices done to him or her as racism and yet these are the same persons who will launch racial slurs against whites and other races or ethnic groups. I have been called racial slurs from blacks such as "chink" and "ching-chong" as well as endured imitations of Bruce Lee's calls when he is fighting. I have also met some very very friendly black people. There are always racists and idiots in every race or ethnic group but there are also good people in each as well.

The International Olympic Committee is launching an official investigation. My hunch is they won't find anything because it's kinda hard to find official documentation of a person that that person's government doesn't want you to find. The reason is that all official documents pertaining to that person is issued by that very same government. And no, some spreadsheet found in an internet search engine's cache will not cut it. It's like asking the US government to hand over documents pertaining to the identity of someone in it's witness protection program. Good luck finding anything useful.

RE: Chinese Attitude
By LTG on 8/25/2008 8:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your posts were well thought out and appreciated.

One of the most difficult things for humans to do is understand perspectives that are highly different than their own.

I'm not (even close) to Asian but your reasoning seems to make sense.

I can agree with you without "condoning" or even mitigating whatever cheating is ever proven out.

By gtr32x on 8/23/2008 3:27:06 AM , Rating: 2
Being a patriotic Chinese I am, I still have to admit that it's wrong if the age of the girl is indeed faked. In that case, her medal should be stripped. However, just for all the comments out there using this as an opportunity to bash China and declare its "totalitarian control" obsolete of freedom, it's not only China. Can we just look at Phelps's victory in 100 butterfly, what's with Omega refusing to release the underwater footage? I'm just trying to say please be more fair and don't judge China at a whole solely based on one occurrence, because everyone does things of similar scale as well. Before continuing bashing China's "totalitarian control", let's get one factor straight, the majority of the Chinese citizens receive almost the same amount of freedom as any average westerner, and that China's "totalitarian control" is currently bringing China forward to the No.1 superpower in the world, a position where a former "world police" has tried to use its shear power to alter the world in its own favor. China has its screw-ups, so do everyone else. Can we just all take a moment and look at our own problems before bashing someone else? And admit our own problems first.

P.S. Sorry for the long comment.

RE: Subjectiveness
By kyleb2112 on 8/23/2008 10:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
"'...World police' has tried to use its shear power to alter the world in its own favor."

Wow, sounds like the official Chinese government line to me. When your government stops filtering all the media you see, you can start thinking about dropping the "totalitarian" label. And god help us all when China is the leading superpower.

RE: Subjectiveness
By LTG on 8/25/2008 9:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
Your comment is totally assinine:

"the majority of the Chinese citizens receive almost the same amount of freedom as any average westerner"

Do you really need someone to list 100 things I can do that the average Chinese citizen can't?

RE: Subjectiveness
By Pythias on 8/28/2008 2:36:52 AM , Rating: 2
I voted this up because I agree with you to an extent. However, its not the people of China we're taking an exception to, it's the Government of China. Huge difference.

By RallyMaster on 8/21/2008 3:18:47 PM , Rating: 1
No one finds it weird that she was born on the first day of the first month of the year? What are the chances of that mess happening? I don't see anything wrong in letting a 14 year old go up on stage. Kids in China start cooking when they're 7 in some areas. You Americans would all complain that's human rights abuse because obviously cooking for themselves is DANGEROUS. Chinese kids are much more competent in taking care of themselves at a younger age than their American counterparts. Face it, Alicia Sacramone fell two times and every other American female gymnast stepped out on the floor exercise during the team competition. Cry me a river.

RE: Uncanny
By HrilL on 8/21/2008 4:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
I used to cook on the stove at age 7 so I don't know where that came from.

But none the less RULES are RULES and they cheated. I say strip their medals and next time they'll think twice before they cheat without covering everything up before hand. We have rules to make sports and games fare and if you don't follow those rules then you don't deserve to be a winner.

RE: Uncanny
By MikeHarper on 8/21/2008 5:41:33 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know if any of you follow gymnastics, but didn't that floor look a bit strange? Both of my kids are in competitive gymnastics and I watch college competition and Visa championships, etc and I've never seen one like that. The anouncers were commenting in the beginning that this floor is more rigid than what the gymnasts are used to. The more rigid the floor the more difficult it is to translate your forward momentum into vertical height, making the tumbling runs go long. It will also cause you to under rotate making it more likely to take a step. This is why the americans (and many others) had trouble staying in bounds. No doubt the Chinese girls were training on this type of floor for years. After a few days of competing and getting used to it, who got the medals on the floor apparatus finals? Not the Chinese.

By Screwballl on 8/21/2008 10:56:52 AM , Rating: 2
Its about time technology steps up and plays a part in archiving this information, just as this person found. Even when there is national corruption such as with the Chinese govt, this type of thing always finds a way to get found out.
Add on top of this the obvious favoritism with many of the Chinese gymnasts and other events (I have watched almost all of the competitions with the wife), many of the judges are being bought off or otherwise compromised. This is happening in multiple events where there is "judge" based scoring, so it is not just gymnastics.
I watched these events where the Chinese screwed up again and again and again yet they still received a higher score than the "nearly" perfect routines of the Americans. Same was happening with the diving last night.
That is why I like the "score" or time based competitions where there is almost no way to fudge the numbers across the board (volleyball, track, swimming), this it the way the "judge" based competitions should be run. Or at least a secretive jury type of oversight group that can add deductions if the judges scored them too high such as the case with multiple Chinese gymnasts.
Technology is making it so the average person at home can see the screwups and should be able to call "bullocks".

RE: technology
By myocardia on 8/21/2008 11:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
Technology is making it so the average person at home can see the screwups and should be able to call "bullocks".

Someone (that would be you) just did, and I agree completely.

By HolgerDK on 8/21/2008 10:12:20 AM , Rating: 2
Hah - those documents are newer gonna disappear from the internet now :)

Good for him to find this, but so
By TxJeepers on 8/21/2008 1:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
If you aint cheat'n, you aint try'n.
Name me a sport that this hasn't come up in?

Slight correction for you guys
By aftlizard on 8/21/2008 1:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
In order to participate, Olympic gymnasts must be at least 16 years old.
Actually the IOC says you must turn 16 in the same year the Olympics are held so theoretically(and in fact I believe there were some gymnasts) you can be 15 during the Olympics as long as you turn 16 by Dec. 31st.

IOC Takes Action
By HsiKai on 8/21/2008 5:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
Just as Nastia Liukin gets back to the States the IOC has ordered an investigation into the cover up, due mainly to the work of the hacker.

The story from The Times of London:

chinese age
By Soulkeeper on 8/21/2008 8:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
aren't you considered to be 1yr old when born in china ?
their way of counting age is different last i heard
so everyone there is 1yr older ...

None of our business?
By spepper on 8/23/2008 8:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
the comment by the Chinese gymnast that it was "...none of your business..." Well, dearie, it IS OUR business, when YOU chose to put yourself on the world stage, and into official INTERNATIONAL competition-- it BECOMES OUR BUSINESS when that occurs-- and this is so typical of a closed, communist society-- what were they thinking, that they could invite the nations into their world, and conduct their kind of business as usual, and no one dare to raise issue with them? It's as if a dysfunctional family invites guests to their home, then the family has a "dysfunctional moment" affecting some of the guests, and they have the nerve to become indignant when one or more of the guests complain-- what nincompoops--

Strength to weight ratio
By phxfreddy on 8/24/2008 4:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
Strength / Weight ratio goes down the bigger you are. Thus Gymnastics favors the younger smaller.

You do not see any of these girls being in the higher percentile sizes even when of legal gymnastic age.

Just seems a situation that will always be hard to get into control as it favors putting the contestant in at as early an age as possible.

By JuneBalba on 8/28/2008 4:28:36 AM , Rating: 2
As I believed, china did harvest all the best goodies there. Showing all their efforts and results of many hard works...But knowing the truth (if Facts or False) is another thing.

Just a crazy thought of mine. This days, look at all the "Made From (country)" label of what of the product your buying, mostly electronics. Kinda world dominating attempt, mostly... Mostly Made from China. I'm not a Chinese, but knowing this, you might get what Chinese people really wants.

I just hope their not lying (I'm 16...), as I know, lier just go to hell....

By FDisk City on 8/21/08, Rating: 0
Why not change the age limit?
By DanoruX on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Why not change the age limit?
By myocardia on 8/21/2008 11:48:57 AM , Rating: 2
Using that train of thought, a weight lifter who uses steroids can outlift one who doesn't, so why have drug tests?

RE: Why not change the age limit?
By lemonadesoda on 8/21/2008 5:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
Once you accept the principle that an age requirement of 16 can be "stretched" to 14, then the whole concept of child molestering/prostitution goes out of the window (viz other topical news stories).

By FaceMaster on 8/22/2008 7:22:30 AM , Rating: 2
...what does he Olympics have to do with prostitution? It isn't anything sexual (Well apart from that volleyball bit :).

The Olympics is about pitting the best of the best against one another and if one of the best happens to be 14 I believe they should have a chance. Of course, the rules are there for a reason, but I'm not entirely sure why the age has to be 16.

RE: Why not change the age limit?
By lompocus on 8/21/2008 9:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
I know there has been talk of dropping it. Granted, china decided to totally bypass it and should get their medals taken away.

Then again, I much prefer watching the american chicks over the chinese :).

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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