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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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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.

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

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