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Thread: China Women's Gymnastics Gold applicable to figure skating?

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    it's olympic season :D bethissoawesome's Avatar
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    China Women's Gymnastics Gold applicable to figure skating?

    As everyone knows, there has been quite a bit of controversy over several members of the "Womens" Chinese gymnastic team falsifying their ages in order to compete... some speculated to be between 12 - 14. And then they won gold. When listening to the stories of all of the older gymnasts, how many of the gymnasts over the age of 16 have undergone mutliple surgeries and lost months or years of practice due to injuries? Lifting the age requirement for gymnastics is now becoming a serious issue.

    I find it pretty applicable to figure skating... the same rigorous training, the more likelihood of injury as you get older and are subjected to more years of practice. Yes, I like to see skaters mature, but if ages are being falsified for the Summer Olympics... how long until the same thing starts happening in the Winter Olympics with figure skating? Now that everyone knows the age requirement is in place, how long will it be before a coach of a great skater figures out they will be slightly too young for the Olympics that they could compete in several years in the future and decides to falsify their age? If the age requirement for Mao Asada was known when she was younger, could her age have been doctored so she could have competed in the last Olympics? If the Japanese ladies team wasn't so deep, I would venture to say yes.

    The only solutions I really see are either lifting all of the age restrictions in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, or having something along the lines of an "International Athlete Passport" that isn't just a passport distributed by the athlete's home country, but researched by an unbiased committee.

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    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bethissoawesome View Post
    The only solutions I really see are either lifting all of the age restrictions in both the Summer and Winter Olympics
    How can that be a solution? Just because laws against murder are broken - nobody (or at least nobody I know) thinks about abandoning the laws against murder.

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    if i am not mistaken in the earlier years of figure skating, there was no age limit. mainly due to just having figures for the competition. if there was one they didn't abide by it. sonja, cecilia, megan being real young. along with some others.
    nowadays -it isn't the jumps which they can do.(sometimes not correctly) it is the mind pressue i think. it is the outside expectations. but being that young they don't buy it.
    also as far a gymnastics, i think all along the federations have been lying about ages. it just wasn't picked up. as they said no federation is going to go to the media and claim a inelligible gymnast if only by a few days, months or years.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    I kinda agree. My beef is not that the girls are too young. they have proven they can do it and well. My problem with the situation is that if 12-year-old chinese girls are winning OGs, then all the countries should have that opportunity. A level playing field is all I am asking for. If the rule states that the girls must be 16, so be it. No matter how much one disagrees with the rule, in all fairness it must be obeyed.

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    Loving pairs, dance and figure skating mycelticblessing's Avatar
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    The rules should be kept. They are there for really good reasons. The physical and mental stress of athletes competing in the Olympics is immense. The age restrictions are there to protect athletes. As for a solution, I think having stringent checks on their ages and is all they can do for now I guess.

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    sure, but how do we know the former winners, romanias, usa, russia were age elligiible,
    we don't we just assume they was because no media or other outlet let us know. they federations wasn't going to tell us.
    i thought there was a rumor that dominque mocieanu wasn't age elligile. i recall earlier ones not being age eligible. how do we know nadia was. we don't we just assume they was.
    now adays because of internet access -it is harder to fudge the age eligiblity questions -if only by 1 day, month or years.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Chinese Ladies ignore the music on the Floor Work routines. The Figure Skaters are so much better at music.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    The youngest figure skaters in Worlds/Olympics that I recall were pairs skaters. It was fashionable before the age requirements to have competitors as young as age 12 or 13 for the girl.

    And as to past gymnastics champions, Nadia Comaneci was 14 in Montreal. There were no age requirements at that time.

    Does anyone know exactly when an age requirement was set for gymnastics?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Does anyone know exactly when an age requirement was set for gymnastics?
    1997 (right after the Atlanta Olympics). Here is what Wilkipedia has to say about past age controversies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_con..._in_gymnastics

    They make the interesting point that years ago women's gymnastics was more about graceful movement, and the athletes typically had many years of ballet training. Agnes Keleti won Olympic gold medals in the 1956 Olympics at age 35.

    But gradually the sport turned more and more to tricks that only children can do.

    Karen Kelsall competed for Canada in 1976 at age 13. The rule then was, you had to be 14 but you could get in at a younger age if you had the recommendation of your national federation. (The 12-year-old U.S. wunderkind that year did not receive this special permission and had to stay home.)
    In a 2002 interview, Romanian gymnast Daniela Silivaş, whose age was advanced two years in the 1980s, noted: "One of the officials of the Federation told me 'Look at the passport, from today you're not 13 years old anymore but 15.' Nobody asked me if I agreed to this, I was just a child. They needed gold medals and everybody who was involved in gymnastics knew about these practices.
    Ironically, Bela Korolyi was once Siliva's coach (but not at the time that she was competing at the World level.)

    Nadia Comanici was 14 when she got all those perfect 10s, but that was OK becuse the rule then was that you had to turn 15 in that calandar year.

    About this years' China girls, a lot of information is surfacing in which their ages given in previous competitions don't jibe with the claims being made now.

    I think it would be really hard for this to happen in the U.S. Public records -- birth certificates, hospital and school records, etc. -- are so open here it would take a Herculean conspiracy to get away with it. All you would have to do is go to the girl's home town and ask her next door neighbor how old the kid was.

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    it's olympic season :D bethissoawesome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycelticblessing View Post
    The rules should be kept. They are there for really good reasons. The physical and mental stress of athletes competing in the Olympics is immense. The age restrictions are there to protect athletes. As for a solution, I think having stringent checks on their ages and is all they can do for now I guess.
    Obviously in this Olympics, it was not the case. The "underage" Chinese girls were the ones that performed better, their team captain (20 years old) fell from the beam... and the US team captain, Alicia Sacramone, fell from the beam and landed on her back on the floor. The mental stress of major competitions doesn't affect younger athletes as much as it does seasoned ones. You can google online the many, many articles written now about how younger athletes are more eager to perform difficult tricks, as older ones are more aware of the injuries that could ensue. Not to mention a lot of the athletic ability to do more difficult tricks is present while younger before puberty. Why was the first ladies quad landed in Juniors? Why do young skaters keep "bursting" on to the scene to take International titles their first time in Senior ranks? They are more fearless and don't have the expectations placed on them that are noted after years of competing.

    As for age restrictions protecting athletes, I kind of only believe half of that is true. The intentions are good, but does it really make a difference? Mao landed a triple axel as a Junior. Mirai and Caroline are skating routines just as difficult technically as "older" skaters. How is the age restriction protecting them?

    The big problem I see is that eventually, I think it is inevitable that coaches will have more desire to train athletes that will meet the age requirement during the Olympic year, not when they are 19 going on 20. It's simply a better gamble.. there is less chance that the athlete will get injured, be ousted by an up-and-comer, etc.

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    age controversial

    In a documentary made in 2003 about China's preparation for 2008 Olympics (Dream Weaver Beijing2008), Deng linlin and Jiang Yuyuan, among others, were filmed entered chinese gymnastic national team at 2003 at age 11 and 12.

    So, how old are they in 2008?

    the youtube link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUGx-...eature=related

    BTW, Bela and Martha are too sour-grape this time, and what's the advantage for being underage in a sports that needs strength and power? And where is the solid proof for all these accusation? (There are just too many China bashing these days, everything with China is bad bad bad, but how will this help our USA team or society?) If Chinese team was not strong, I am sure no one will make a fuss even if a 10-year-old girl was there to compete. Lose a game doesn't mean you have to lose your dignity too.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    I was wondering how this controversy started and how they could prove it. They have passports as supporting documents, which is pretty strong evidence. I understand that Chinese girls look young. But gymnasts tend to look so young because many of them are small and skinny. There wouldn't be any scientific tests that you could examine one's age.

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    Banned AwesomeIce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    I was wondering how this controversy started and how they could prove it. They have passports as supporting documents, which is pretty strong evidence. I understand that Chinese girls look young. But gymnasts tend to look so young because many of them are small and skinny. There wouldn't be any scientific tests that you could examine one's age.
    The controversy started because there have been articles, some even from within China, stating the ages of certain Chinese gymnasts at different competitons in the past... and those ages indicated that the gymnasts would NOT be age-eligible for the 2008 Olympics. And different articles cite different age/ birthdates for the gymnasts. China has a history of altering passports, birth certificates, etc. so that their athletes can, essentially, be any age they need to be. So just because He Kexin has a passport saying she is 16, that is not really strong evidence. All it means is that China can easily adjust He's documents to say whatever they want them to say. Even given the fact that Chinese tend to be small and look young, there is no way that anyone can ever convince me that He Kexin is 16. Deng Linlin looks about 12, she's missing a baby tooth for heaven's sake! The Chinese are cheating, I'm fairly certain of that, there just is no real way to PROVE it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mycelticblessing View Post
    The rules should be kept. They are there for really good reasons. The physical and mental stress of athletes competing in the Olympics is immense. The age restrictions are there to protect athletes. As for a solution, I think having stringent checks on their ages and is all they can do for now I guess.
    Not only that, but Olympics is far different than any competition. You go from a girl to adult very quickly. Not only an adult but princess-like adult and it's far more interesting to see a girl who is just a little older and see how she matures into a young woman (or young woman into adulthood) rather than a little girl into an adolescent (and their parents just go crazy thinking about the endorsements or lack thereof). BTW, where was Carley Patterson, she wasn't at the Olympics, was she? I read she wanted to be a country singer.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisadotdash View Post
    BTW, where was Carley Patterson, she wasn't at the Olympics, was she? I read she wanted to be a country singer.
    Here is a recent article about Patterson. It makes the point that it is not so easy to translate Olympic success into big money opportunities later.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-...,7029547.story

    IIRC she was in a couple of the those Disson shows featuring skating an gymnastics. I think another one is planned by Disson this season.

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