22 August 2008

Twisting, turning, tumbling...

You just never know what's gonna shake loose...

BEIJING — The International Olympic Committee said Friday it had asked gymnastics officials to investigate whether the Chinese women's gymnastics team that won the gold medal had underage athletes, saying "more information has come to light."

The IOC, which also asked the Chinese gymnastics federation to investigate, would not give details on what new information prompted it to act now, three days after the gymnastics competition ended.

Age falsification has been a problem in gymnastics since the 1980s after the minimum age was raised from 14 to 15 to protect young athletes from serious injuries. The minimum age was raised to its current 16 in 1997.
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UPDATE: Hoist by their own petard
Just nine months before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government's news agency, Xinhua, reported that gymnast He Kexin was 13, which would have made her ineligible to be on the team that won a gold medal this week.

In its report Nov. 3, Xinhua identified He as one of "10 big new stars" who made a splash at China's Cities Games. It gave her age as 13 and reported that she beat Yang Yilin on the uneven bars at those games.

The Associated Press found the Xinhua report on the site Thursday morning and saved a copy of the page. Later that afternoon, the website was still working but the page was no longer accessible.

Sports editors at the state-run news agency would not comment for publication.
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