Friday, August 22, 2008

Risky Business

Today the International Olympic Committee requested an investigation of the Chinese gymnasts' ages. For those living under a rock, there are rumors that half of the Chinese gymnastics team is younger than sixteen, the the qualifying age for Olympic gymnastics. Allegedly, Chinese officials may have changed the girls' passports to render them old enough to compete.

While I was not one of those people who was convinced that the Chinese gymnasts were underage because they looked younger (because Asian people don't age and I could pass for 20 if not younger), I was skeptical about the ages when I heard that Chinese news and websites reported last year that one of the gymnasts was born in 1994, and suddenly those websites have disappeared. I just never thought that there would be an actual investigation.

For those keeping track at home, disqualifying those athletes that would give us China's gold medals in the team all-around and uneven bars. I'm not trying to get my hopes up too high though.

I have to say that if these allegations are true, the Chinese officials are pretty gutsy. It's already bad enough to have individual athletes cheat; but to have officials forge government documents in such a high profile Olympic sport? That's about as dumb and risky as John Edwards having an affair while running for President.

If China's goal was to present a new image to the world, they have succeeded. Now many people think of them as a country so obsessed with image and winning that they will digitally enhance fireworks, have a girl lip-sync another girl's voice because the original singer wasn't "cute" enough, and now tamper with one of the most popular Olympic sports.

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