Welcome to our Gymnastics Discussion Community
554,231 messages... 44,365 topics... and 6,612 members
Join for FREE!
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts & High 5 Meets!

How I know the Chinese gymnasts

Status
Not open for further replies.

all-aroundgirl

Active Member
Aug 26, 2008
646
Texas
Ok, I once said I knew some of the Chinese gymnasts but it was a long story. Well reading about the investigations and stuff made me think about the story again. So here it goes.

I was on a flight from Germany to America. As I was going through bag check and all that, there was a group of tiny (tiny, tiny, tiny!) girls speaking Chinese in front of me. I wouldn't have guessed they were gymnasts (heck, I was wondering "What the heck are you doing here?") I found out they were gymnasts when they took off there jackets and revelaed the leos (I have no clue why they were in Germnay. It was a while back though...) One of the girls passports fell out of her jacket pocket. I picked it up and the age said "sixteen". I looked up at her and was like "there is no way you are sixteen. I'm forteen and a foot taller than you!" I tapped her and handed her, her passport. Then she went off in Mandarian about something. I studied them more closely and was like "You guys can't be older than my cousin! She's 12! You can't be older than 10!" Well, we went through the line and that was the last I saw of them. So watching and reading all about this controversy doesn't suprise me at all. There is no way the girls I met could have been 16.
 

Rosalie

New Member
Oct 24, 2008
39
One thing is clear is the chinese gymnast, the most of them, the aren't 16. I'm 14 and I'm much taller the them. But if the FIG doesn't do anything about that
what we can do?
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
There is no way the girls I met could have been 16.
I cannot say yay or nay because I don't know any of them personally. But, the fact is Asian females can age very differently than European descents. Many middle age women in their mid forties are often mistaken to be much younger (up to a decade or two younger) in the Western world.

I read this thing in a book about how the chinese people age...
They are counted as 1 year olds as soons as they are born and every chinese new year, they age. So say they were born 1 day before chinese new year. They would already be two the next day!
That is absolutely true! *diverging from gymnastics*

At least that was how it was. But, only the Lunar (farmer) Calendar can be used in this computation. If the Gregorian (the common one) calendar is used, actual age is no different.

What may be more odd to the West is that when a person dies, 3 years (maybe 2 as I can't remember for sure) are added to the actual age when listed in the obituary.
 
Last edited:
A

allaroundgirl

Guest
That is absolutely true! *diverging from gymnastics*

At least that was how it was. But, only the Lunar (farmer) Calendar can be used in this computation. If the Gregorian (the common one) calendar is used, actual age is no different.

What may be more odd to the West is that when a person dies, 3 years (maybe 2 as I can't remember for sure) are added to the actual age when listed in the obituary.

On the radio the other day it said something about how Chinese people live the longest. My mother snorted and said "That's because they are lying about their age!!!'' Made me laugh :)
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
On the radio the other day it said something about how Chinese people live the longest. My mother snorted and said "That's because they are lying about their age!!!'' Made me laugh :)
Bear in mind that the "lying" sometimes goes the other way too -- besides as a result of the mentioned calculation. Meaning some people in the much older generation in actuality didn't know their age (record was lost or there wasn't any at all). There were just as many cases where they have reported their ages being younger than they really are (intentional or otherwise).

BTW, if age is always added, how would that support what your mom said? I know that you're joking, but just figure I throw that one out. Also, the way ages were done was due to both traditional and religious reasons (heaven, earth and ancesters). It's not a random thing.
 
Last edited:

ky7403

Member
Mar 3, 2009
107
Mississippi currently
Regarding the ages of the Chinese Gymnast at the 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games should still be seriously looked at in my opinion. They have no outward appearance of even being close to puberty; and before anyone says anything I know that most elite gymnast do not look as if they had hit puberty but if you look at almost all the other countries and gymnast they do look as if they have hit puberty in some way or another. Granted that, not very many other gymnast of the asian decent competed in the 2008 Olympics, such as Japan or Korea, their is not any other country to compare the Chinese gymnast to. But in China gymnastics is the national sport of the entire country; and the Chinese government has wayyyyyy too much access and authority into person documents of their people. The Chinese had every reason, but no in anyway the right, to change birth date's, passports, etc. The Olympics were finally in their country and they want to make their country proud. So they would take any chance they could to make that happen. The IOC and FIG need to implement more efficient ways of testing athletes for age and drug testing. I read somewhere that someone suggested that everyone have x-rays or dental records to identify the age of the athletes before they compete. The whole point of the Olympics was not to be the best in the world when the games first originated, but to bring the people of the world together for friendly, fair competition. The games have turned into a grand competition that every athletes seeks to become part of during their career and their is nothing wrong with that. Being the best in the world at something is a accomplishment to say the least, but it should be done in a "fair" manner; well as "fair" as the IOC and FIG should and can make it. I do not believe that it would be too much to ask that all the athletes be x-rayed, bone or dental, and drug tested before the games begin. Just my opinion.
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
I do not believe that it would be too much to ask that all the athletes be x-rayed, bone or dental, and drug tested before the games begin. Just my opinion.
I think I would go along with that one. There is no subjectivity in that approach. Can't argue with science there. Anything in short of that is just one's speculation. Besides, if drug test is a standard procedure, bone or dental tests IMHO are less invasive in one's identity/privacy.
 

txgymfan

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Relative
Fan
Sep 4, 2008
3,153
Houston
Country
USA
The problem with bone density test is that bones do not have a date stamped on them. They only indicate how closed off your growth plates are. That is not exact and varies from person to person.

Most girls finish growing in thier teenage years. A female friend grew several inches in college. By this judgement, she may have been judged too young to compete.
 
C

cheryl1960

Guest
Ok, so I just read this thread and I'm a radiologic technologist. So just to clear things up....... a bone age xray is done to determine if a person(usually a child) is at the accepted "normal" bone developmental stage for his/her age. A radiologist determines this by comparisons of xrays of "average" development and closure of the growth plates.
A bone density test is usually done in older people 50 plus(mostly women), to see if they are at risk for osteoporosis. Bone density is something that diminishes as we age, and the growth plates are present until a person is done growing, which varies. Most of the time a bone age xray is ordered if a child "appears" "small" for their age , or "big" for their their age.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
B

bpatient

Guest
Regarding the ages of the Chinese Gymnast at the 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games should still be seriously looked at in my opinion. They have no outward appearance of even being close to puberty; and before anyone says anything I know that most elite gymnast do not look as if they had hit puberty but if you look at almost all the other countries and gymnast they do look as if they have hit puberty in some way or another.... I do not believe that it would be too much to ask that all the athletes be x-rayed, bone or dental, and drug tested before the games begin.

The "outward appearance of being even close to puberty" isn't an objective measure, and measuring bone age isn't going to help determine whether these young-looking athletes were within the allowed age range for Olympic competition.

Bone age doesn’t give you a precise estimate of chronological age—perhaps especially in elite gymnasts. Among gymnasts who participated in the European and World Championships (from 1997 through 2004), the skeletal maturation was “on average” over two years below the chronological age; the chronological age was up to about three and a half years greater than the bone age for some of those elite athletes. Since bone age is correlated with sexual maturation, it shouldn’t be surprising that an elite female gymnast could look “young”: For example, the first signs of breast development occurred on average about age 12 in this large group of elite athletes—about 2 years later than in the general US population (and, as an example of how ethnic heritage can affect maturation, about 3 1/3 years later than among African-American girls; I don’t know how Chinese athletes would compare, since there are many different ethnic groups in the Chinese population and nutrition-related factors also affect the timing of puberty). [J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Nov;90(11):6022-7; Pediatrics. 1997 Apr;99(4):505-12]

It happens that my Chinese wife, a small and lean former Division 1 athlete, looks quite a bit younger than her age. About the time that she was due to graduate from medical school we visited a Boston-area museum along with my wife’s thirty-five year-old sister; as we approached the ticket office, the clerk asked brightly, “Two adults and one child?” Although children under twelve were admitted free, we weren't tempted to cheat. It's possible that some of the young-looking Chinese gymnasts were truthful, too.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
B

bpatient

Guest
Corrections


Oops. I should have actually reread the papers I cited rather than simply relying on memory. Let me correct some errors in my previous post:

Actually, bone age was ca. three and a half years or more behind the chronological age in roughly one-sixth of these athletes. In addition, the beginning of breast development (Tanner Stage II) was noted at a mean of 13.2 (not 12) years in this group of elite athletes, with no development noted in about 15% of the girls who were 14 and a half years of age or older.

The first visual signs of puberty in these athletes were evident at a mean bone age of 12 years; since a substantial fraction of these elite gymnasts reached that bone age after the chronological age of 15 and a half, it shouldn't be surprising to find some elite athletes who look pre- or peripubescent beyond the age 16 cutoff for the Olympic Games.

It's possible, of course, that some of the diminutive Chinese gymnasts did undergo a bit of birth record manipulation, but their physical appearance is nothing like conclusive evidence.
 

Flippers Mom

Member
Jul 20, 2009
200
Region 3
I have found the speculation about the age of Chinese olympians interesting. I hesitate to post over concerns about my daughters privacy - but thought you might find my perspective interesting. Flipper was born in China and adopted by us when she was nearly 10 months old. She weighed 12 lbs. sopping wet. She is not approaching her 11th birthday. While other girls her age have begun developing into young ladies, Flipper shows no signs. She is easily the smallest in her class - barely registers even on southern Chinese girls growth charts. On American charts, she registers closer to a 6 year old. Still, virtually nobody mistakes her for being younger because of her actions, speech and interests. We are active with a group of other families who have adopted from China. Flipper fits in well there, although even in that group, she is petite. As you can imagine, our family discussed the age of the Chinese gymnasts extensively and came to the conclusion that at least two of them simply had to be underage. I don't blame the girls - they are working to get their families a better life (provided by the government). Chinese culture dictates that face must be saved at all cost. There was tremendous pressure to win at home - and the athletes simply have no choice in matters such as this if they want to keep doing what they love. So, while I think it was unfortunate that the girls had to lie about their age, our family chose to simply marvel at their skill.
 
Personally- while I do think one or two may have lied about their age- I don't think outward appearances are a good basis for the argument.

Asians tend to be on the small side, and working out the way they do, it stands to reason that they are not going to have curves. Jennifer Sey didn't get her period until she was in college and she was an american gymnast. My understanding is that serious chinese gymnasts literally live in the gym. Who knows how much they eat, either.

Just my piece of cheese~
 

T.Gymnastics

Member
May 26, 2009
316
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
I found a interesting joke a while ago... im not exactly surebut it was something like this: the beijing olympics ended in china, all the tourists went home, and the chinese woman gymnasts went back to kindergarten. a little harsh i think... I believe there is a good chance that they were underage, but i shouldnt really care because im 14 and was handed a 10 and under childrens menu at a restaurant =] besides isnt gymnastics the only one with an age requirement? so cheating or not they won. and they deserve at least a LITTLE respect for that.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.