The Chinese Women’s Gymnastics Team

So I’m sitting here in my living room watching the Women’s Gymnastics competition. The Chinese and American women have both been very good and clearly better than any other country’s team.

I’m watching the American women jump and spin and twirl (and watching that brown-eyed girl fall off the balance beam and onto her butt on the floor routine, ugh!) and they look young. They look to be about my age or a little younger. Around 17-20ish. I don’t know for sure, but somewhere around that age range.

But what I know for a fact is that those Chinese gymnasts are NOT 16. Not even fucking close. They all look nine or ten, twelve at the oldest. I don’t care how many passports that the Chinese government prints up to say that all these girls are 16 (Olympic minimum age is 16, btw) beause none of them are close. My driver’s license still says I weigh 150. And that’s not even close.

Take the floor routine for example. Of the three American girls that did it tonight, at least two stepped out and I’m pretty sure the third one did as well. None of the Chinese girls stepped out. So you may think that the Chinese team was actually better than, and executed better than the Americans. Well, maybe, but their strides are also shorter given the fact that they’re probably 6 to 8 inches shorter and 6 to 8 years younger than the Americans (at least)

I bet you that China could bring the exact same team to the 2012 Olympics in London and they still wouldn’t be old enough to compete. It’s ridiculous. I could understand if they were close to 16, but they’re not. I don’t know anything really about the physics of gymnastics, but the American team was much more top-heavy than the Chinese team. I assume that affects something. I know that smaller, lighter and less body fat is good for gymnastic success, and nine year olds are generally smaller, lighter and have less body fat than 18 year olds.

Just because Chinese people look alike, doesn’t mean that I can’t tell a ten year old isn’t sixteen. Chinese people do look younger than they really are, but this is insane. The combination that China has never won Olympic gold in women’s gymnastics and the fact that the Games are in Beijing probably is causing the Chinese to do whatever it takes to win. Hey, the American women won their only Gold Medal in Atlanta in ’96. Probably not a complete coincidence.

Not to mention the Chinese judging seems a bit flawed. US gymnast and World Champion Shawn Johnson (woman) executed nearly a perfect routine and received a 9.058 in execution. No stumbles, no falls, great dismount. And still was docked 0.942 points.

Performance enhancing drugs are against the rules in the Olympics and just recently Americans have had to forfeit medals because of them. And similarly, being too young is also against the rules.


Posted on August 12, 2008, in Sports. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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