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


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#101 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:52 PM

Don't count your chickens...it'll take a while.

And the Chinese government statement in defense will read like this; "We regret the previous error in stating the athletes age that was misleading and was corrected". This thing is a MINEFIELD...and will be navigated by the IOC very, very carefully.

#102 losangelessoxfan

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 03:31 AM

Wow... it seems like they're finished with their investigation already.

http://sports.yahoo....g...p&type=lgns

Doesn't sound very thorough at all.

#103 Monbo Jumbo


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:01 AM

whitewash

Surely it's not possible that these documents are still not sufficient proof of her birth date?" Mr. Lu asked. "The passports were issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The identity card was issued by China's Ministry of Public Security. If these valid documents are not enough to clarify this problem, then what will you believe?

"The Chinese government and the Chinese athletes must be respected," he added.

Andre Gueisbuhler, secretary general of the FIG, said the federation would release a statement later Friday.

Media reports include a Nov. 3, 2007 story by the Chinese government's news agency, Xinhua, that suggests Ms. He is only 14.

Registration lists previously posted on the Web site of the General Administration of Sport of China that showed both Ms. He and Ms. Yang were too young to compete. Ms. He was born Jan. 1, 1994, according to the 2005, 2006 and 2007 registration lists. Ms. Yang was born Aug. 26, 1993, according to the 2004, 2005 and 2006 registration lists. In the 2007 registration list, however, her birthday has changed to Aug. 26, 1992.

"If you trust every Web site but not a government There are so many Web sites, so much hearsay," Mr. Lu said. "These are not official. It is possible that all news on the Internet is accurate?"

"At this competition, the Japanese gymnasts were just as small as the Chinese," he said. "Chinese competitors have for years all been small. It is not just this time. It is a question of race. European and American athletes are all powerful, very robust. But Chinese athletes cannot be like that. They are by nature that small."


WSJ

Edited by Monbo Jumbo, 22 August 2008 - 04:02 AM.


#104 bsj


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:41 AM

The IOC really thinks thats going to cut it?

There's a smoking gun out there, and apparently its going to be dependent on some aspiring stud journalist to do the IOCs job and find it...

#105 gaelgirl


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 06:05 AM

I cannot believe the investigation that was announced less than 24 hours ago is now apparently over. I'd be a lot happier if the IOC and FIG at least said something like, "There is strong, but unreliable and not irrefutable, evidence that these girls are underage. However, the Chinese government has provided us with several documents that indicate the athletes are old enough to compete in these Olympics. At this time, there is absolutely no way anyone can prove otherwise. As such, the matter is closed."

It won't happen, but fuck politics. It is very clear to any semi-intelligent person that these people are not 16. Former Chinese gymnasts have admitted their documents were falsified so they could compete while underage. It's doesn't take a lot of deductive reasoning to figure this shit out. However, you cannot strip medals based on deductive reasoning and strong suspicions.

I'd suggest someone file for a permit to protest in one of the as-yet-unused offical protest zones, but that person would probably disappear and never be heard from again.

Anyway, tomorrow a statement will be issued saying that the Chinese government has provided FIG and the IOC with passports, birth certificates and other documents supporting that the athletes were of age and that matter is now considered closed, completely ignoring that creating passports, birth certificates and other documents isn't exactly difficult when you are the government that issues these things in the first place.

#106 jp

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 09:53 AM

When I got up this morning there was a full page article on the homepage of Yahoo!, I think it was by Dan Wetzel, blasting the IOC investigation as a sham. Now, I can find no evidence whatsover of the article anywhere. The censorship and propagandising in China is disheartening, though not surprising. The censorship and propagandizing that the IOC and now US news publications are engaging in is downright despicable.

#107 jkempa

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 11:57 AM

When I got up this morning there was a full page article on the homepage of Yahoo!, I think it was by Dan Wetzel, blasting the IOC investigation as a sham. Now, I can find no evidence whatsover of the article anywhere. The censorship and propagandising in China is disheartening, though not surprising. The censorship and propagandizing that the IOC and now US news publications are engaging in is downright despicable.


Is this the one (Wetzel)? Or is there a follow-up that's disappeared?

Edited by jkempa, 22 August 2008 - 11:58 AM.


#108 jkempa

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:00 PM

Nope, just poked around and it's not on Yahoo anymore.

However, you can find it here:

Truth About China

And here's what you see on Yahoo's page

S.O.L.

Edited by jkempa, 22 August 2008 - 12:02 PM.


#109 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:05 PM

You didn't seriously think the IOC was going to take down the Chinese government did you? If it was some coach forging documents perhaps they could figure it out, but the Olympics basically start with the assumption that national agencies are all legit, and work from there.

#110 Comfortably Lomb


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:11 PM

So just to be clear. Breaking performance enhancement drug rules is cheating and worthy of metal stripping. Breaking age rules is not a big deal.

Edited by Comfortably Lomb, 22 August 2008 - 12:11 PM.


#111 jp

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 01:35 PM

So just to be clear. Breaking performance enhancement drug rules is cheating and worthy of metal stripping. Breaking age rules is not a big deal.

Yes, unless it's a Chinese athlete that has used PEDs - then it's OK.

#112 gaelgirl


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 06:59 PM

I'm guessing the column was taken down because they were claiming, sort of, that the investigation wasn't complete. But it seems like it is. I am not sure what the hell is going on with it right now. I am guessing the column will be back up when the "official final word" comes down.

I honestly don't think it's a matter of the IOC not caring as much as it is about the total impossibility of proving otherwise.

#113 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 07:04 PM

I'm guessing the column was taken down because they were claiming, sort of, that the investigation wasn't complete. But it seems like it is. I am not sure what the hell is going on with it right now. I am guessing the column will be back up when the "official final word" comes down.

I honestly don't think it's a matter of the IOC not caring as much as it is about the total impossibility of proving otherwise.

IOC Strategy - kinda sorta act like the investigation is complete, for now. Let the Games end and everyone get out of town, and THEN actually investigate. I think IOC actually cares a great deal. The Sammaranch run IOC would have been just as happy to sweep it under the rug, but Rogge is a little more principled than his predecessor.

That said, he's smart enough to wait unitl the big show is over before being TOO principled.

#114 ngruz25


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Posted 22 August 2008 - 10:33 PM

So just to be clear. Breaking performance enhancement drug rules is cheating and worthy of metal stripping. Breaking age rules is not a big deal.

Let's be clearer. You throw down your medal, which you earned, and walk off the stage during the pointless medal ceremony... "Strip that fucker's medal!!". You cheat and break the age rule... nah, you're cool.

Edited by ngruz25, 22 August 2008 - 10:33 PM.


#115 The Belly Itcher

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 11:15 AM

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.


Isn't this a gross oversimplification? Its like saying that the Sox should hire a 7 foot, 350 lb body-builder; his immense strength should translate to 50 homeruns. There's more to gymnastics than flipping and twists, and there's far more to flipping and twists than reducing the issue to being light enough to overcome the forces acting on your body.

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.

Simply put, you are overgeneralizing a result although I appreciate the desire to support your contention with science. I know the research to which you refer. Notwithstanding my issues with some of this research, why are you relating "risk-taking" and "decision-making" to "being oblivious to the magnitude of the situation". You certainly can not generalize any of these findings to the Olympics situation. As a result, you could literally twist them in any way to explain a situation. For example, you could make an argument that a younger person should be more affected in the Olympics than an older person; the same line of research you cite finds adolescents more distractable because they are "novely-seekers". If you provide a more specific example (for example, a certain publication), then we can discuss this in better detail.

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.


Puberty is variable across women, as you know. Puberty, ion average occasions an increase in hip-size, which would lower the woman's center of gravity and make her more balanced. Puberty, ion average, can also occasion muscle mass increases that might help in other aspects of a routine. There are other reports that describe increases in flexibility-measures, which start at puberty, and increase during adolescence. At any rate, I think I've presented enough material in this thread to suggest that a young person who has not reached puberty is, at the very least, not at a physiological advantage despite being "lighter". Indeed, there is some evidence that a post-pubescent girl might have advantages in other aspects that would help her performance. The point is: gymnastics is more than flips and young girls aren't better off.

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.


I'm not sure why this natters or how one can make these conclusions. An injury history is, to some degree, a function of how long the person in question has been training; how many hours have they put in? A 12-year old, although young, still has to train extensively for several years in order to have the kinds of performance that we saw in the Olympics. Wouldn't a 12-year old have to train more than a 17 year-old over the course of 3 years in order to be on the same playing field as a 17 year-old who has had an additional five years of experience? Wouldn't more training over a shorter period of time make you more injury-prone? Or does a 12 year old not have to train more simply because the young age puts her at such an advantage for "flips and twists" (which I don't buy).

Finally, and I admit upfront that is tangential to the previous discussion, isn't the Chinese girl in serious question (the one for whom the internet story was removed) believed to be 14.5, not 12 (DOB 1/1/1994)? What under-16 year olds in the US could beat the Chinese (and Shawn Johnson for that matter)?

At any rate, though I don't support breaking the rules, I don't find myself as outraged as some of you. I think some of the age discussion, or at least how its presented, obnoxiously detracts from the girl's performance, which was fantastic. Certainly, not any under-16 year old can do that. The gold-winner still beat the competition and you can't convince me that an extra 16 months of age would result in her falling apart. She's still going to be in a force in 16 months.

Edited by The Belly Itcher, 23 August 2008 - 11:33 AM.


#116 pdaj

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 06:40 PM

Let's be clearer. You throw down your medal, which you earned, and walk off the stage during the pointless medal ceremony... "Strip that fucker's medal!!". You cheat and break the age rule... nah, you're cool.


Could he get his medal back?

http://sports.yahoo....w...p&type=lgns

#117 gaelgirl


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Posted 23 August 2008 - 09:46 PM

Gee, you're right, Belly Itcher. I don't know why I instead believed virtually all the women's gymnastics research and evidence I have ever seen. Younger, smaller, lighter gymnasts have zero advantage. It's why gymnasts have consistently grown older, taller and heavier through the years and why judges consistently reward the more physically mature bodies.

Intense gymnastics training for girls, in general, delays puberty and stunts growth (at least until they retire). Whether that's a lack of proper nutrition or an effect of the intense training is unclear, and I'd guess it has more to do with diet than training, but that's a fact.

I think I've presented enough material in this thread to suggest that a young person who has not reached puberty is, at the very least, not at a physiological advantage despite being "lighter".

This is just wrong. Research has shown that elite gymnasts need to be smaller in height and width, that in order to pull off those complicated twists, it helps to be narrow, and to pull off those flips, height is a major detriment. Puberty-related changes of which you speak are detrimental to gymnastics success. Success is about inertia and rotational forces. Puberty increases size and height, and thus requires much greater strength to overcome the differences in inertia. Smaller, more agile gymnasts are more successful than larger, more muscular gymnasts. Pre-pubescent gymnasts are smaller and more agile. So, explain again how puberty does not present a problem for gymnasts.

There is far more to gymnastics than flipping and twists. I never said flipping and twists were the only thing someone needed to succeed in gymnastics. That does not, however, mean that it is not true that being smaller and lighter means it is easier to flip and twist. If it weren't, elite gymnasts wouldn't be shorter, smaller and lighter than average and much shorter, smaller and lighter than almost any other elite female athlete (similar to figure skaters, ballet dancers and distance runners).

So... forgive me if I think being smaller and lighter is an advantage if you're a gymnast. It is not, of course, impossible to succeed after puberty, it's just more difficult. I guess it's a good thing their training delays puberty.

As for your last point, these Chinese girls are going to be "a force" next year, and maybe even over the next two or three years. It's going to be difficult, however, to be this good in four years. It's hard to succeed in the Olympics twice as a gymnast, which is why it's fairly rare.

Edited by gaelgirl, 23 August 2008 - 09:49 PM.


#118 The Belly Itcher

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 09:54 PM

This is just wrong. Research has shown that elite gymnasts need to be smaller in height and width, that in order to pull off those complicated twists, it helps to be narrow, and to pull off those flips, height is a major detriment. Puberty-related changes of which you speak are detrimental to gymnastics success. Success is about inertia and rotational forces. Puberty increases size and height, and thus requires much greater strength to overcome the differences in inertia. Smaller, more agile gymnasts are more successful than larger, more muscular gymnasts. Pre-pubescent gymnasts are smaller and more agile. So, explain again how puberty does not present a problem for gymnasts.


I've provided links earlier in this thread.

Where is this research that you are talking about? Can you point me to a source-- a name, an article? I'm not trying to be facetious; I am genuinely interested in the origins of these thoughts.

#119 speedracer

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 11:29 PM

I've provided links earlier in this thread.

Where is this research that you are talking about? Can you point me to a source-- a name, an article? I'm not trying to be facetious; I am genuinely interested in the origins of these thoughts.


http://en.wikipedia....ment_of_inertia

Basically, rotational inertia is proportional the product of mass times length-squared. Presumably a gymnast's strength is proportional to mass, but the length-squared factor remains, putting taller/wider gymnasts at a relative disadvantage.

Edited by speedracer, 23 August 2008 - 11:32 PM.


#120 Monbo Jumbo


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:35 AM

The blog of the hacker who unearthed the cached Chinese documents

#121 The Napkin


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 01:10 PM

Would someone please take Belly Itcher's shovel away from him?

#122 Monbo Jumbo


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 02:29 PM

The hacker I linked to above has found another document. At 6PM ET he's going to post the address on his blog for other people to grab it and see how long it take for the Chinese authorities to make it 'disappear' - this should be interesting.

#123 gaelgirl


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 03:49 PM

I've provided links earlier in this thread.

Where is this research that you are talking about? Can you point me to a source-- a name, an article? I'm not trying to be facetious; I am genuinely interested in the origins of these thoughts.

Among other places: http://cis.myile.com..._...&Itemid=108

#124 Ananti


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 07:32 PM

I just downloaded it, so as of right now they have not taken it down.

#125 bsj


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 07:36 PM

is this legit? i want to download it but am afraid its viruses and shit...is it safe?

#126 Ananti


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 07:50 PM

It's legit, it's an excel database of young Chinese athletes.

#127 Monbo Jumbo


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 08:06 PM

For BellyItcher

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#128 The Napkin


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 08:11 PM

Posted Image


Wonder what he did that made them chop off his legs. Guess they want to win the paralympics too.

#129 bsartist618

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 10:06 PM

Where did those photos come from?

I guess this is as good a smoking gun as one is going to find.

#130 Monbo Jumbo


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 10:20 PM

Where did those photos come from?

I guess this is as good a smoking gun as one is going to find.


From a link in the comments on that blogger's site. Running the page through babelfish it looks like some dissident Chinese site against child labor.

#131 kenneycb


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 12:16 AM

It looks like the first two of those are photoshopped. To my eye it just doesn't seem like the head "fits" the body correctly.

#132 Myt1


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 12:42 AM

For the most part, those look like really, really poor photoshops.

#133 slidingsideways


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 01:55 AM

For the most part, those look like really, really poor photoshops.

They look real to me. Why wouldn't they be? I've seen tons of pictures of kids doing the same stretches and exercises. (The kid in the background is swinging, which is why you can't see his legs.)

#134 Myt1


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 02:12 AM

They look real to me. Why wouldn't they be? I've seen tons of pictures of kids doing the same stretches and exercises. (The kid in the background is swinging, which is why you can't see his legs.)


Because the heads don't seem to match the bodies on at least 2 of the kids.

#135 Jed Zeppelin


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 02:14 AM

klj12Z_ARow


This would be one hell of a photoshop job

#136 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 02:29 AM

This would be one hell of a photoshop job

The amazing thing is, it appears that was on TV - and that the coaches and people running the show were in total cooperation with it being taped. They're not TRYING to hide this - culturally, it's OK to shove a little boy around like that. Probably 80% of that video seems pretty normal, yet demanding stuff, 15% is edgy and pushing the limits of how kids should be worked with, but 5% is totally over the top "get a guy fired, sued and thrown in jail" stuff in North America.

#137 Myt1


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 02:48 AM

I've no doubt they practically torture the kids. I just said that the pictures looked photoshopped.

#138 Ananti


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 04:44 AM

This is nauseating to watch.

#139 bsartist618

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 08:28 AM

The kid with cut off legs is a reflection in a mirror, I think. He would be hidden behind the kid in the center.

That's the only explanation I can think of.

#140 jkempa

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 08:58 AM

Because the heads don't seem to match the bodies on at least 2 of the kids.


I think that the heads don't look to match the bodies because of how their shoulders are turned around. They're hanging on the bar the opposite way that you would expect.

#141 slidingsideways


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Posted 25 August 2008 - 11:12 AM

The kid with cut off legs is a reflection in a mirror, I think. He would be hidden behind the kid in the center.

That's the only explanation I can think of.

He's swinging. He's arched at the waist with his legs stretched out behind him, directly away from the camera. Look carefully.

Edited to add: he's wearing grips for swinging on the bar. He's not just hanging there, he's in motion.

Edited by slidingsideways, 25 August 2008 - 03:10 PM.