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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 retrospooty on 8/21/2008 12:15:04 PM , Rating: -1
I dont give a crap... These gymnasts are ALL training regular from a very yourn age, many since pre kindergarten age. What the hell is the difference if they are allowed to compete in the Olypics at age 14 or not? Even if they are 14 tehy are still training every day for competitions they are allowed in now, and for the NEXT olympics when they are old enough. As far as being mentally ready, other sports allow any age... WTF?

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.

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