There has been some discussion on this in one of the GP threads so I wanted to get some specific discussion going on this topic.
I am actually a little bit appalled that some people are in favour of getting rid of the age limits. Placing a child in the spotlight of the Olympics or World Championships is a horrible idea. Children should not be exposed to that kind of pressure as a child and down the road it could have serious and dangerous implications. It is a very slippery slope if age limits are thrown away. Should we have 10 or 11 year olds competing in the senior division? How young is too young?
There are many stories of senior level athletes burning out after entering into high pressure situations before they are ready. Many develop patterns of destructive behaviour such as; eating disorders, drug use, alcohol abuse, and staying in abusive relationships. Kristie Philips, Nadia Comaneci, Tracey Austin, Jennifer Capriati, and Tracey Wainman are all examples.
I suggest everyone who thinks age limits should be thrown away should educate themselves on the story of Tracey Wainman and how her life was almost destroyed by the pressure and getting "too much too soon"