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Age limits in gymnastics are an unfair Olympics barrier

August 22, 2008 |  6:55 am

Chinese gymnast He Kexin, center, is seen with teammates at a news conference at the Samsung Pavilion at the Beijing Games on Friday.

BEIJING -- The International Olympic Committee has asked the international gymnastics federation (FIG) to probe China’s gymnasts. They might be underage.

There are claims that Chinese double gold medalist He Kexin is younger than the eligible age to compete in the Olympic Games. She registered at the Beijing Olympics as a 16-year-old. Gymnasts must turn (at least) 16 years of age during the year of the Games. There have been some discrepancies regarding He’s age and the IOC has requested the investigation.

Inspired_by_diabetes_3 But is this really cheating?

I don’t understand why a 14-year-old can’t compete in the Olympics. It’s supposed to be the best in sport and He won. Who cares if she’s 14?

I remember being 14. There is no advantage in the world to being 14, unless you are competing in a pimple contest. When I think of being 14, I think weak and awkward, not Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics. I would imagine that being 14 would be a terrible disadvantage.

I guess I don’t know very much about gymnastics.

Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if a 14-year-old beat you at the Olympics though, just a little?

-- Gary Hall Jr.

Photo: Chinese gymnast He Kexin, center, is seen with teammates at a news conference at the Samsung Pavilion at the Beijing Games on Friday. Credit: Rob Carr/Associated Press Photo

Gary Hall Jr. became a three-time Olympian after being diagnosed with Type I diabetes. He is an ambassador for Inspired by Diabetes, a global campaign that encourages people touched by diabetes to share their stories with others around the world. The program is a collaboration between Eli Lilly & Co. and the International Diabetes Federation’s Unite for Diabetes initiative. In the U.S., the American Diabetes Assn. is the program’s national advocate. For more information, visit inspiredbydiabetes.com.

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