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Chinese gymnasts and age...the story that is about to explode...


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#51 Shelterdog


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:20 AM

But there are other factors that age would enhance.. At any rate, I hope that everyone is ABSOLUTELY certain that these girls are underage.


Isn't it obvious that the relative advantages and disadvantages of using underage gymnasts is going to depend on the athlete, who else could be put on the team, and the event? In this case, it appears that the Chinese decided that the advantages of using a couple of underage athletes, particularly on vault and uneven bars, is worth the disadvantages.

There's some good evidence that some of the gymnasts are under 16. We won't know the truth until the coach writes a tell-all book or something.

http://www.bloomberg...6...&refer=home
http://www.huffingto...m_b_118842.html
http://www.nytimes.c...o...nted=1&_r=1

Edited by Shelterdog, 15 August 2008 - 10:21 AM.


#52 TrishPike

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:21 AM

At any rate, I hope that everyone is ABSOLUTELY certain that these girls are underage.


They are. There have been several places where members of the Chinese '08 team have had their birthdates listed which would make them 13/14 now. The NY Times article a few weeks ago lists a few, and some have come out since.
But that was a few months ago, before China figured that they would make good Olympians. All they needed was to magically get a new passport and BOOM! they're age-eligible. Unless you think China wouldn't stoop that low...

#53 The Belly Itcher

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:37 AM

How does the first link help your point at all? It's a study of 11-14 year olds. The second finds no difference between gymnasts with an average age of 14.5 and 14.1.


Its a study of 11- to 14-year-old girls in which they also include a measure of sexual maturation. Re: the second study. Yes, there is no difference, which was my point (i.e., is there a physiological difference?). At any rate, the average age isn't the point; its whether they reached menarche or not. You do realize there's variabilty as to when women reach puberty or not, right? :lol: If there's no physiological difference in a population in relation to capabilities, then the comparison of "Ben Johnson vs. Car Lewis" or a "Lightweight vs. heavy weight" isn't apt.

Edited by The Belly Itcher, 15 August 2008 - 10:40 AM.


#54 Myt1


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:42 AM

Its a study of 11- to 14-year-old girls in which they also include a measure of sexual maturation. Re: the second study. Yes, there is no difference, which was my point (i.e., is there a physiological difference?). At any rate, the average age isn't the point; its whether they reached menarche or not.


Point being? I don't think anyone is complaining that the Chinese gymnasts are better because they're less cranky. :lol:

There's also variability as to how other physiological changes relate temporally to menarche.

The comparisons are apt. You made 2 arguments:

1. The US shouldn't complain because it's a stupid rule.
2. The US shouldn't complain because they could have won.

The comparisons go to your second argument.

Edited by Myt1, 15 August 2008 - 10:52 AM.


#55 The Belly Itcher

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:12 AM

Point being? I don't think anyone is complaining that the Chinese gymnasts are better because they're less cranky. :lol:

There's also variability as to how other physiological changes relate temporally to menarche.

The comparisons are apt. You made 2 arguments:

1. The US shouldn't complain because it's a stupid rule.
2. The US shouldn't complain because they could have won.

The comparisons go to your second argument.


You have a knack for distilling a single post into arguments, but sometimes at the expense of previous posts-- there's a cumulative context that's missed (or I fail to provide). The point of "they could have won" is not meant to be taken as a premise in a vaccuum. Of course, ANYTHING can happen. I meant it to address the idea that if there's no "physiological advantage" to being younger or pre-puberty (my main argument), then the determining factor in the "who should win" is the actual performance when its all on the line, which is a product of the gymnast's training and their skill. The US COULD have won if they performed better at the moment, if they had more skill or trained more...who knows. But they didn't. That's why they hold the competition. Again, I don't think it detracts from the Chinese gymnasts performance, which was fantastic.

Edited by The Belly Itcher, 15 August 2008 - 11:13 AM.


#56 Doug Beerabelli


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:20 AM

I'm assuming this rule was put in place in part, or totally at the behest of, the international governing body for gymnastics. If they don't think it's a stupid rule, then any IMHOs on the matter here aside, the rule should be enforced, and there should be consequences for breaking it.

#57 DegenerateSoxFan

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:26 AM

Hey, if the Pats got slammed for videotaping what everyone could see anyway...

#58 slidingsideways


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:55 AM

There are, however, pre-pubescent girls who are 68 pounds, without breasts, without a uterus, who are otherwise great athletes.

Wait, what? You think the uterus suddenly develops at puberty?

The US COULD have won if they performed better at the moment, if they had more skill or trained more...who knows.

We couldn't have won. Our combined start values (total points possible) were lower than those of the Chinese team. You can't plan on your opponents falling. You can only control what you do, and the US went in prepared for silver. And THAT is mostly Marta Karolyi's fault.

#59 gaelgirl


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 03:40 PM

So you're telling me that all things being EXACTLY equal, it is inevitable that a girl at 12 years-old will more flexible compared to herself at the age of 17? Imagine this hypothetical: you take a population of gymnasts at age 12, test their flexibility, balance, etc. You retest the very same gymnasts five years later, who all have continued their extensive training regimen, and ALL of them will be less flexible, less balanced, etc. compared to themselves five years earlier? I simply can't buy this rationale without some physiological data to back it up, and its the only way that I'd be outraged about this whole thing -- i.e., if the physiology makes it IMPOSSIBLE for one to better than yourself at an earlier age. If that was the case, then there is some parallel to steroids.

My reasoning as to why older gymnasts might get some physiological advantage, notwithstanding the experience, is that a woman's center of gravity lowers as she hits puberty (i.e., the hips enlarge), which would certainly make her more balanced in some cases.


It is not impossible to do better at 17 than when you are 13. Obviously. It's not impossible to lose a race when you're hopped up on 100 different kinds of steroids and your opponent has none, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable to do it. Every athlete is going to be different and react differently to the maturity process.

Still, you don't know what you are talking about. I wrote a really long post about this in the other gymnastics thread, but I'll simplify it here. In general terms, among elite gymnasts, the differences between 12 and 17 are:

1) They are much smaller and lighter at 12, obviously. It is easier to do three flips with two twists in the air when you are 70 pounds rather than 100 pounds. There are no healthy 70-pound 17-year-olds. There are many healthy 70-pound 12-year-olds.

2) A person's brain is far more immature at 12 than 17. Specifically, the ability to judge risks and moderate activities due to that judgement is not fully formed until someone is in their early 20s. A 12-year-old is more than a full decade from realizing how fucking insane it is to be doing the things she doing. It's a big five years. A 17-year-old is far closer. Until very recently, researchers believed this part of the brain was fully matured at 18. When that maturity means fearing the shit you're doing 100 times a day, it is tougher to go out there and do even more insane things. Obviously a 17-year-old can work through it and excel, but she's far more aware of what she's doing than when she was 12.

3) Puberty is in its very early stages at 12. Puberty is all but finished at 17. Puberty-related changes make gymnastics more difficult because of added weight and different distribution of that weight. Among other things, I'd imagine an extra 3 to 10 pounds on a girl's chest would make things like saving an off balance landing on the balance beam slightly more difficult. These are small (or sometimes huge) advantages, but many small advantages add up.
4) A 12-year-old gymnast's injury history is likely to be (and should be!) minor. A 17-year-old's injury history is likely to be significant. Nastia Luikin, who is 18, has already had reconstructive surgery on her ankle that kept her out for almost a year. Alicia Sacramone had major knee and back issues, including knee surgery at 18 that kept her out for nearly a year. Chellsie Memmel has had a long injury history starting with her first major problem, a broken foot in 2004 that kept her out of Athens. She competed with a broken foot at these Olympics. She had shoulder surgery at 18. There was a 17-year-old athlete at the selection camp that broke her leg in balance beam warmups. I don't know if she needed surgery. Bridget Sloan, 16, had arthiscropic knee surgery in March or April of this year but was back for Nationals in early June. Shawn Johnson, 16, had a minor leg injury; she needed a cast to prevent stress fractures. Samantha Peszek, 16, has had no major injury as far as I can tell.

Do you see the progression of the seriousness of injuries? There's only so much a body can take before it gets seriously injured. Even with intensive training, that point is rarely reached before 15 years old. I'd guess that if you were to research the careers of gymnasts worldwide, most of them had minimal injury problems before 15/16, but missed significant time after that age due to injury. I would guess many gymnasts retire because they physically cannot endure what it takes to remain an elite gymnast. Their bodies just can't come back after all that damage. Each sprained ankle or wrist, each strained shoulder or knee is hastening their athletic demise. It's like physical Jenga. There's only so many pieces that can be taken out before it falls. Each injury, minor and major, is just another piece that they'll never get back.

Edited by gaelgirl, 15 August 2008 - 03:43 PM.


#60 Nick Kaufman


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 03:57 PM

Get used to it. China is going absolute kick our ass in the next several Olympics. They will destroy the lives of tens of thousands of people in order to kick out Olympic champions. This is what the Soviets did, and this is what the East Germans did. The Soviets surpassed the Americans in medals several times in the summer as well. The Soviets (according to former gymnasts) used to impregnate their women athletes and abort the fetus in order to ... aww, hell, I don't know why the hell they did it but apparently it was supposed to help their biology.

In the 1970s and 1980s, America consistently had the best athletes amongst countries that were not rotten to the core. We do today as well. That is going to have to suffice I am afraid.



You know, in my mind, one of the biggest festering scandals around is the Australian Institute of Sport. It's not crazy for the most populous state in the world winning the most medals. It's crazy for a 20 million people country being the fourth or fifth best with institutions reminding of East Germany.

#61 Nick Kaufman


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 03:59 PM

Does anyone remember all the track records that Chinese women set at something called "China's National Games" in 1993? In particular, Wang Junxia broke the 10K record by 42 seconds--in fact, her final 5K in the race would have broken the 5K world record. She also broke the 3K record (by 10 seconds, five women broke the old record in the same race) and another runner crushed the 1500 record. The entire group of runners was trained by the same person and were neighbors in the same province. Some of these records still stand.

The whole phenomenon soon passed, though the coach and several of his athletes were later busted for failed drug tests. Not the same athletes.

I will never trust a single member of the Chinese Olympic team. Never.


And yet you trust the team that harbored Marion Jones?

#62 neil

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:08 PM

There is a clear distinction between the Chinese breaking the rules by fielding under 16's and the US having an advantage by being able to field under 16's. They are not mutually exclusive.

Can someone, especially the media, please list the under 16 US gymnasts that would have taken a place on the team were this rule to be avoided. I have yet to see anyone list these people and if this list doesn't appear then there is no advantage ultimately.

#63 Myt1


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:08 PM

You have a knack for distilling a single post into arguments, but sometimes at the expense of previous posts-- there's a cumulative context that's missed (or I fail to provide). The point of "they could have won" is not meant to be taken as a premise in a vaccuum. Of course, ANYTHING can happen. I meant it to address the idea that if there's no "physiological advantage" to being younger or pre-puberty (my main argument), then the determining factor in the "who should win" is the actual performance when its all on the line, which is a product of the gymnast's training and their skill. The US COULD have won if they performed better at the moment, if they had more skill or trained more...who knows. But they didn't. That's why they hold the competition. Again, I don't think it detracts from the Chinese gymnasts performance, which was fantastic.


Well, I did give you credit for the two different arguments this time, didn't I? :lol:

The "could have stuff" seemed to relate to the sour grape stuff. I think our differences when we discuss issues might be different levels of perspective perhaps. I was looking at your point as a meta one, rather than in this specific context, which is why I presented the argument by analogy.

What do you think of the point that if the US chooses to follow the rules and China doesn't, China unfairly creates a larger pool of potential competitors? Is it killed by the fact that nations have different sized populations anyway?

#64 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:15 PM

And yet you trust the team that harbored Marion Jones?


Excuse me? She got the drugs from her personal coach, not one that was connected to the national team at all. When she finally did fail a test it was a test administered domestically for the US National Championships.

In the case of the Chinese gymnasts we're talking about systematic cheating done with the cooperation of the national Olympic committee and the government. Jone's case is not analogous at all.

#65 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:16 PM

You know, in my mind, one of the biggest festering scandals around is the Australian Institute of Sport. It's not crazy for the most populous state in the world winning the most medals. It's crazy for a 20 million people country being the fourth or fifth best with institutions reminding of East Germany.

Of course, 19.5 of those 20 million people live near the ocean, which has its advantages for many of the sports in which Australia is good.

#66 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:19 PM

And yet you trust the team that harbored Marion Jones?

I am not sure what the American team did, or what the government did. But to the extent that they did something wrong, I would want the people involved to be punished. As I would want the Chinese to be punished.

Although I am no fan of our current government, I do not believe they would desire steroid users to be on the Olympic team.

#67 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:19 PM

And yet you trust the team that harbored Marion Jones?

Difference being that in the US, each athlete really does his/her own thing, with his/her own coaches, advisors, etc...so you can't paint the whole US Olympic movement with the same big brush you can when talking about the big state sponsored systems as in China.

As to the Australian thing - a lot of the things that the USSR/GDR did were very sound, and not unethical. If they're using some of the positive approaches to sport developed then, that's fine. I know Canada does...Bottom line is this too, Australia spends a shit-load money on this stuff...

#68 slidingsideways


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:48 PM

There is a clear distinction between the Chinese breaking the rules by fielding under 16's and the US having an advantage by being able to field under 16's. They are not mutually exclusive.

Can someone, especially the media, please list the under 16 US gymnasts that would have taken a place on the team were this rule to be avoided. I have yet to see anyone list these people and if this list doesn't appear then there is no advantage ultimately.

Rebecca Bross, Sami Shapiro, and Jordyn Weiber are three gymnasts who would have been in the running for the US team if there were no age limit. Just because the average American can't name the top US junior gymnasts doesn't mean they don't exist.

#69 Monbo Jumbo


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:48 PM

There is a clear distinction between the Chinese breaking the rules by fielding under 16's and the US having an advantage by being able to field under 16's. They are not mutually exclusive.

Can someone, especially the media, please list the under 16 US gymnasts that would have taken a place on the team were this rule to be avoided. I have yet to see anyone list these people and if this list doesn't appear then there is no advantage ultimately.


Please. That's tortured logic.

As the push to younger and younger gymnasts occurred decades ago, the age at which extremely intense training had to begin also move younger and younger. It was decided this was not good for the kids. The Chinese take thousands of children from their families at age 3 and begin training. By age 13, they have a few spectacular gymnasts. This is not done in the U.S., because the U.S. follows the rules. The absence of such gymnasts in the U.S. in no way proves that the Chinese didn't have an illegal advantage.

Edited by Monbo Jumbo, 15 August 2008 - 04:48 PM.


#70 Chemistry Schmemistry


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 05:18 PM

I'm just mystified at anyone having interest in a "sport" that rewards artistic impression where the competitors peak at an age so young that they need to invoke a rule unique to the world of sports.

Seems to me this problem could be solved by returning this "sport" to its roots - an enjoyable competition with significant athleticism rather than a complex tumblefest that only the judges seem to care about.

Then again, I haven't even watched ten minutes of the Olympics thus far, and that was only because I was hoping to catch some of those volleyball players in the buttkinis.

#71 neil

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 06:36 PM

Please. That's tortured logic.


I should have said 'disadvantage' - the logic is quite correct then. If the US team fielded its best gymnasts, rules be damned, for the event then there was no disadvantage for the US. Its very simple logic - they had the best team they could've had. If there are other gymnasts that could turn in better performances but were not there due to the age rule then there is a clear disadvantage for the US. Seem hardly anyone is actually saying this though - thanks to slidingsideways for actually listing some potentially better gymnasts. The media has failed to do this.

#72 Hendu's Gait


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 07:25 PM

You know, in my mind, one of the biggest festering scandals around is the Australian Institute of Sport. It's not crazy for the most populous state in the world winning the most medals. It's crazy for a 20 million people country being the fourth or fifth best with institutions reminding of East Germany.


Where's the sarcasm emoticon? It's not much more crazy than a 33 million person country (Canada) being 3rd or 4th best, the same as Russia, during the Winter Olympics, is it not?

If you're not being sarcastic, I'm going to assume, you've never been in Australia for any significant period of time. If you have, you would know that the 19.5 million people, that Lahoud mentions, who basically live between Cairns and Adelaide, or in Perth, and within 50 miles of the ocean, are awash in the beach culture, mainly swimming, but also including sailing, rowing, beach volleyball, diving, surfing, etc. The overwhelming majority of their medals are in these sports.

Canadian culture : ice :: Australian culture : water

#73 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:15 PM

If you're not being sarcastic, I'm going to assume, you've never been in Australia for any significant period of time. If you have, you would know that the 19.5 million people, that Lahoud mentions, who basically live between Cairns and Adelaide, or in Perth, and within 50 miles of the ocean, are awash in the beach culture, mainly swimming, but also including sailing, rowing, beach volleyball, diving, surfing, etc. The overwhelming majority of their medals are in these sports.


Australians are a remarkable sporting people period. Just look at how many Australians have played pro baseball in America despite baseball barely registering a blip on the rader down there. They're amazing.

#74 gaelgirl


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:16 PM

I should have said 'disadvantage' - the logic is quite correct then. If the US team fielded its best gymnasts, rules be damned, for the event then there was no disadvantage for the US. Its very simple logic - they had the best team they could've had. If there are other gymnasts that could turn in better performances but were not there due to the age rule then there is a clear disadvantage for the US. Seem hardly anyone is actually saying this though - thanks to slidingsideways for actually listing some potentially better gymnasts. The media has failed to do this.

You've complete, totally and absolutely missed the point. The point is not that there are under-16 U.S. gymnasts that are missing out on participating in the Beijing Olympics (though there surely are candidates who did). The point is that apparently there are not enough Chinese gymnasts OVER 16 that can compete with the world's best gymnasts, including from the United States. If that is indeed the case, how is it NOT a disadvantage to the Americans when their best team is competing with another team that, were they following the rules, would have a much smaller chance of winning?

It's also totally ignored the fact that in Communist China, it's a completely different system than nearly anywhere else in the world. It's a system where tiny kids, preschoolers even, are shipped off to intensive gymnastics training camps for the rest of their childhood and most of their teen years, sometimes moving over to something like diving if they fail to show enough promise as a gymnast. They rarely see their parents. They don't have outside activities. They do gymnastics. That's their life. They've got the pride of the nation depending on their 4'9", 77-pound average bodies. The majority of Chinese elite gymnasts are undoubtedly better trained at 13 than most elite U.S. gymnasts of the same age, simply because most 13-year-old gymnasts in the U.S. haven't been intensively training for more than half their lives.

In America, kids casually take gymnastics classes (or swimming lessons and join soccer teams or art classes or children's theater programs or any number of other activities) and gradually work up to more serious and intense training schedules and coaches. Sometimes they move with their families or a parent to be closer to a specific coach, but that seems to be happening less frequently these days because of changes in the U.S. system. Americans are cheering for the 5'1", 107-pound average gymnasts, but none of our coaches are vowing to commit suicide because they cannot live with the shame of not winning gold.

#75 neil

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 09:25 PM

You've complete, totally and absolutely missed the point. The point is not that there are under-16 U.S. gymnasts that are missing out on participating in the Beijing Olympics (though there surely are candidates who did). The point is that apparently there are not enough Chinese gymnasts OVER 16 that can compete with the world's best gymnasts, including from the United States. If that is indeed the case, how is it NOT a disadvantage to the Americans when their best team is competing with another team that, were they following the rules, would have a much smaller chance of winning?

I haven't at all. You, and others, are talking about a totally different thing. You are talking about the IOC ensuring the underage gymnasts are kept out. I am referring to the notion that the rule should be scrapped because it clearly doesn't work which would've meant the US team would've won gold. That logic does not hold unless there are under 16's that ARE better than those the US team used in this olympics.

It's also totally ignored the fact that in Communist China, it's a completely different system than nearly anywhere else in the world. It's a system where tiny kids, preschoolers even, are shipped off to intensive gymnastics training camps for the rest of their childhood and most of their teen years, sometimes moving over to something like diving if they fail to show enough promise as a gymnast. They rarely see their parents. They don't have outside activities. They do gymnastics. That's their life. They've got the pride of the nation depending on their 4'9", 77-pound average bodies. The majority of Chinese elite gymnasts are undoubtedly better trained at 13 than most elite U.S. gymnasts of the same age, simply because most 13-year-old gymnasts in the U.S. haven't been intensively training for more than half their lives.

In America, kids casually take gymnastics classes (or swimming lessons and join soccer teams or art classes or children's theater programs or any number of other activities) and gradually work up to more serious and intense training schedules and coaches. Sometimes they move with their families or a parent to be closer to a specific coach, but that seems to be happening less frequently these days because of changes in the U.S. system. Americans are cheering for the 5'1", 107-pound average gymnasts, but none of our coaches are vowing to commit suicide because they cannot live with the shame of not winning gold.


And this is why the rule is pointless. China is prepared to do anything to win certain events and there is nothing you can really do to prove someones age when the people confirming the age are fully behind the scheme of their own country. This will lead into a philosophical debate on the true meaning on the Olympics of course...

Personally, if a country wants an olympic gold that much and their residents are prepared to support such a system then more power to them. To you and I the way the Chinese groom their atheletes is wrong and quite possibly sick. I would hate it if the US or Great Britain decided to take the approach of the Chinese and would be totally against it. However, I'm sure we can all find someone in our own areas who treats sports as in a "win or die" manner even when their kid is playing tee-ball.

#76 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:29 PM

I haven't at all. You, and others, are talking about a totally different thing. You are talking about the IOC ensuring the underage gymnasts are kept out. I am referring to the notion that the rule should be scrapped because it clearly doesn't work which would've meant the US team would've won gold. That logic does not hold unless there are under 16's that ARE better than those the US team used in this olympics.


Sigh. There likely are fewer world class gymnasts in the US under 16. You wanna know why? Because the US gymnastics culture does not physically and emotionally abuse 8 years old girls in the hopes that they will someday make the Olympics. Since they do not, a culture has evolved such that 14 year olds compete in junior meets, and their careers are geared towards peaking in their late teens.

The US 13 year olds are not going to be able to compete with the Chinese 13 year olds, because they are thus far unwilling to incarcerate them in a gulag.

Having done this, some genius on the internet can say, "Hey, if your 13 year olds aren't good enough, screw off."

#77 Gunfighter 09


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:39 PM

You know, in my mind, one of the biggest festering scandals around is the Australian Institute of Sport. It's not crazy for the most populous state in the world winning the most medals. It's crazy for a 20 million people country being the fourth or fifth best with institutions reminding of East Germany.



Just curious, have you been to Australia?

#78 reggiecleveland


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:28 PM

You know, in my mind, one of the biggest festering scandals around is the Australian Institute of Sport. It's not crazy for the most populous state in the world winning the most medals. It's crazy for a 20 million people country being the fourth or fifth best with institutions reminding of East Germany.


That's bullshit. They have a good system just like European countries but they have a population that likes sports and a government committed to it. The institutions mostly do a lot to promote the grassroots level. It was years in coming and part of it was that they recognized getting kids in sports got them off the street, cut crime, health costs, etc. All through the society they saw sport as a solution. The elite level is part of it but just part of it. Also Australia has a population base that plays a lot of sports that are in the Olympics especially swimming where there are a lot of medals. They have unbelievable facilities. If I wasn't a teacher I would never be able to find a gym for my kid to shoot hoops. In Australia in a city this side there would be basketball only and volleyball only gyms with 5 or 6 courts open for kids to play and good players to get coached. In Canada we copy the high performance centers (centres) but don't fund the grass root programs and the Aussies tell us over and over it won't work unless you get numbers.

American tax money has paid to fight just about every positive drug test by US athletes for years. Dig into how hard it was for the coach near Marion Jones to bring down Balco when he had the drugs in his position. The USTF wanted no part of it. Steroid use began in the USA and ws perfected in the USA. There is something different between state sponsored policy of cheating and including athletes often without their knowledge and athletes coaches and admin agreeing to cheat and covering it up. The USA has a pretty ugly history with drug use especially when you look at how they didn't self report positive tests etc. It was the same when Ben Johnson ran here. He had his own little club and even I knew. When he torched Carl Lewis (who it looks like now was also doping) I said to me buddy, "Ben took the right drugs!" Obviously he didn't. As usual the west is far more indirect but just as willing to do wrong to win.

The best system is the American one in my opinion. Americans do things right or not at all. The put money into facilities in schools and colleges and if it wasn't for the NCAA half of Canada's Olympic team would not get trained by great coaches with first class facilities. In the USA people want to win and coaches and talented athletes find each other and train to win, usually. In Canada people want the government to do it. The thing Canadians miss is that Australia has all these sports clubs with professional coaches that are privately run. They just brought them together under one umbrella and put money into it. For example Australia has ten times more professional basketball coaches than Canada.

In Canada winning is a bad word. A basketball coach friend of mine from the East coast tell this joke. When he fishes he puts some fish in pail with a lid other in a pail without a lid. He says he needs a lid on the American fish because they will jump out. When a Canadian fish jumps the others pull it back in.

#79 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 16 August 2008 - 01:07 AM

American tax money has paid to fight just about every positive drug test by US athletes for years.

Really a brilliant post, but I'm not sure where the tax dollars come into play here. The one thing that sets thr US apart from pretty much every other country when it comes to international sport is that in the US, funding for high-performance sport does not come from the government.

As an American living in Canada, I cringe at the thought of my tax dollars going to fund high performance athletes. Personally, I don't give a flying fuck how many medals Canada wins at the Olympic Games. I want my tax dollars to pay for roads, schools, hospitals, and fire trucks and maybe a submarine from time to time. I don't want to subsidize a bunch of upper middle class white kids who play exotic sports...and I say that as a parent of an upper middle class white kid who does an exotic sport.

I'm surprised to hear the other 1/2 of the Australian thing, that the grass roots are there. I've been a little skeptical of the recent Canadian approach, which is very, VERY focused on a narrow goal (Kick total ass in Vancouver - Reggie is probably familiar with the "Own the Podium" iniative, the rest of you not so much) without thought to how Olympism can be a positive influence on society.

#80 The Belly Itcher

  • 2655 posts

Posted 16 August 2008 - 01:47 AM

Sigh. There likely are fewer world class gymnasts in the US under 16. You wanna know why? Because the US gymnastics culture does not physically and emotionally abuse 8 years old girls in the hopes that they will someday make the Olympics. Since they do not, a culture has evolved such that 14 year olds compete in junior meets, and their careers are geared towards peaking in their late teens.


Oh, of course! Had the Chinese chosen capitalism like the US, then we'd all be on an equal playing field! Then the US surely would have ruled the great sport of gymnastics! If only the Chinese were so nurturing, like North American parents, then they only would have gently supported participation in team-sports!

The Nye Mets are my favourite squadron!

Posted Image

Edited by The Belly Itcher, 16 August 2008 - 01:58 AM.


#81 cutman1000

  • 2925 posts

Posted 16 August 2008 - 03:55 AM

Are you still arguing? Why? It's pretty apparent at this point that you are just using this issue to attack the U.S. If you want to attack the U.S., fine, but maybe you should choose a topic that you know something about next time so that you look like less of a moron.

Speaking with a former gymnast today, I asked her if younger gymnasts had an advantage over older ones. Her answer was "of course they do, they are more limber."

What the issue boils down to is the rule exists whether we like it or not. People who break rules unknowingly are disqualified. People who break rules willingly are cheaters.

#82 shane88888

  • 259 posts

Posted 16 August 2008 - 11:43 AM

You know, in my mind, one of the biggest festering scandals around is the Australian Institute of Sport. It's not crazy for the most populous state in the world winning the most medals. It's crazy for a 20 million people country being the fourth or fifth best with institutions reminding of East Germany.


Medals per Capita, Athens 2004
http://abs.gov.au/Au...33;OpenDocument

Forget the Aussies. It's the Bahamian sports machine we need to look into.

In seriousness, using medal counts to make any sort of point is absurd. There's around 96 medals awarded for swimming, not including the open-water events and additional medals awarded for ties. There are six awarded for basketball, six for baseball/softball, six for soccer, etc etc. Which sports have larger competitor pools?

Edited by shane88888, 16 August 2008 - 11:46 AM.


#83 Ananti


  • little debbie downer


  • 2075 posts

Posted 16 August 2008 - 04:32 PM

Yup, Australia gets a lot of medals compared to her population because the distribution of Olympic events, there is no need to come up with another more nefarious cause.

#84 Fred not Lynn


  • Dick Button Jr.


  • 3626 posts

Posted 16 August 2008 - 04:59 PM

Yup, Australia gets a lot of medals compared to her population because the distribution of Olympic events, there is no need to come up with another more nefarious cause.

They also get the medal haul they do because of the value placed on sport by the Australian government - and the Australian taxpayers' willingness to foot the bill. Any country can up its medal count - there's pretty much a direct relationship bewteen spending and medals won.

There's also a well-maintained "hangover" from the Sydney Games, where the programs and systems in put in place to ensure Australia did well at home in 2000 continue to generate positive results.

#85 Pumpsie


  • The Kilimanjaro of bullshit


  • 10601 posts

Posted 20 August 2008 - 12:14 PM

Please. That's tortured logic.

As the push to younger and younger gymnasts occurred decades ago, the age at which extremely intense training had to begin also move younger and younger. It was decided this was not good for the kids. The Chinese take thousands of children from their families at age 3 and begin training. By age 13, they have a few spectacular gymnasts. This is not done in the U.S., because the U.S. follows the rules. The absence of such gymnasts in the U.S. in no way proves that the Chinese didn't have an illegal advantage.


Exactly.

Lahoud and Monbo have this situation exactly right. If you can start training young girls rigorously at very early ages, you can have world class gymnasts by the time they are 13. Most of the world has decided that Olympic training is a terrible thing to enforce on eight year old children. China disagrees and apparently breaks the rules concerning this and reaps the advantage gained at the Olympics. They should be seriously punished if they have, in fact, cheated like this, at some point after the Games. Let them have their fun now but disqualify the team later and pull back all the medals won and award them to the runners-up.

#86 Jnai


  • is not worried about sex with goats


  • 9307 posts

Posted 20 August 2008 - 12:22 PM

In all the "think of the kids" stories that people have posted, I think very few people are actually thinking of the kids.

The damage is done. They've trained early and competed early. They won gold.

Taking it away would be a disgrace to the kids. Branding them as cheaters in a nation captivated by their performance would do far more harm than has already been done.

China should be punished, but find some way to do it without destroying these children's lives more than they already are.

#87 Lose Remerswaal


  • Leaves after the 8th inning


  • 22327 posts

Posted 20 August 2008 - 03:31 PM

I'm not really following this thread, but I don't see these links posted in the past couple of days, seeming to prove the underage issue and showing some cool internet censorship by our Chinese hosts.
this
and this

#88 favreauk

  • 1686 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 02:48 PM

The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up the true age of their gold-medal winning gymnastics star because she was too young to compete.

http://www.timesonli...icle4583174.ece

Has this been posted yet?

#89 Monbo Jumbo


  • notices black scientists


  • 18781 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 03:53 PM

The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up the true age of their gold-medal winning gymnastics star because she was too young to compete.

http://www.timesonli...icle4583174.ece

Has this been posted yet?


Too bad they are only investigating one gymnast and not three. More importantly, will they strip China of the team medal if one member is disqualified?

#90 Ananti


  • little debbie downer


  • 2075 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:04 PM

This is just their way of getting more money out of the Chinese Government, another couple hundred thousand in each of the member's accounts should quiet things down. No way will any Chinese gold medal be stripped.

#91 opes


  • Doctor Tongue


  • 3143 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:31 PM

Too bad they are only investigating one gymnast and not three. More importantly, will they strip China of the team medal if one member is disqualified?



Yes. I believe so. Marion Jones relay team was stripped of their metals because of cheating. This can be defined as the same. I do feel bad for the kid though.

#92 Fred not Lynn


  • Dick Button Jr.


  • 3626 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:37 PM

If anything is going to happen it will be well after Mr. Rogge and the head of the organizing committee shake hands and exchange plesantries, the flame is extinguished and everyone is happily on their way home...don't expect the IOC to ruffle any Chinese feathers until a little later.

#93 twoBshorty


  • Has friends with cellos


  • 1919 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:11 PM

When it was discovered that Kim Gwang Suk was very underage in the early 1990s, the North Koreans were banned from international competition for a year. Kim did not lose any of her World Championship medals. Of course, that was FIG and not the IOC, but I highly doubt that anything will be done here besides a slap on the wrist, if that.

What'll be interesting is the 2012 Games when the now 16-year-old He Kexin is suddenly only 18 four years later.

#94 gaelgirl


  • kiwi whore


  • 4469 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:22 PM

I'm shocked the IOC is trying to do something, though I highly doubt it will come of anything. There is no way to prove they are underage. I don't think saved images of now-missing cached versions of websites is going to be enough evidence. China's certainly not going to produce documentation that proves she's underage. Even if they sent investigators to her hometown and interviewed every person she's ever met in her life, it is highly doubtful any of them would defy the official government line.

She did nothing wrong, of course, and she is a fantastic gymnast. It's too bad that she is part of a highly corrupted system that values results and PR image over personal safety or rules compliance.

If they were to somehow prove/find enough evidence to support that she's underage, then I would be shocked if all the medals she won (including team events) weren't stripped. That sucks for all of them because they never really had a choice of doing anything else.

I would love if this all happened before the end of the games because China deserves to be humiliated on a grand scale. It's just too bad it would be about gymnastics and not any number of the other horrible things they do.

#95 SaladParmesan

  • 572 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:24 PM

There is no way to prove they are underage.


They could cut off a leg and count the growth rings in the bone.

#96 RedOctober3829


  • SoSH Member


  • 16107 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:36 PM

The crawl on ESPN said if they find that she was underage that they would award the team medal to the USA and the individual medal to Lubin.

#97 sachmoney


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  • 7705 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:17 PM

Costas announced that the IOC and the international gymnastics committee is going to investigate the Chinese! Nastia might get her gold after all :rolling:

#98 njingles3

  • 853 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:19 PM

Costas announced that the IOC and the international gymnastics committee is going to investigate the Chinese! Nastia might get her gold after all :rolling:


And Alicia Sacramone would be let off one huge effin hook.

#99 sachmoney


  • SoSH Member


  • 7705 posts

Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:20 PM

And Alicia Sacramone would be let off one huge effin hook.


Yes, Winchesterians will no longer have to hang their heads in shame.

#100 Obscure Name


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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:44 PM

I'd feel bad for the little Chinese girls, but fuck them. I want the US to get the gold.