As I am watching the Olympics, I see these Chinese gymnasts that are "16" years old... I say to my husband, "there is no way this girl is 16!" Not 30 seconds later, there is a news section of how a Chinese newspaper says that there are a few girls on the team who are actually 14!
The IOC won't do any thing about it this year, and then in a year or two we will hear how they were stripped of their medals...
From the following article; Bela Karolyi, who coached Retton of the United States and Nadia Comaneci of Romania to their Olympic gold-medals, says that it is impossible to prove any thing as China is experts in changing paperwork like this.
So how does this support the argument? Is it mere heresay?
From my experiance, I can assure you that many chinese girls appear underage while frequently being over age. Infact, there is a standing joke between our year group and one of the girls that she would never make it into an R rated movie because she appears almost twelve, and yet she older than the majority of the grade, and is already 18. Just because these smaller, less quickly maturing athletes, who do not comply the the media's portrayal of the well endowed 16 year olds, may be competing, it should not be assumed that they are underage.
Moreover, you prediction adds nothing to the present argument, it is a deriative of your initial assumption. It is a nice hypothesis, but currently does not add to your argument.
Also, your final comment implies that China can, therefore China will. That is similar to proposing that all women are prostitutes, because all women can be prostitutes. It is entirely fallicious
If so, the whole matter flies in the face of what the Olympics are about. It taints the gold and takes away a clean win FROM THE GIRLS themselves who know how old they are, as well taking from those of legal age to participate. The girls don't deserve that taint on their accomplishments. The other athletes don't deserve to compete against those who do not qualify. And the world doesn't deserve to be treated with such disrespect.
If the country waited until the girls were of age these special girls would have a clean win for themselves, their country and the international community.
The rule is intended to protect children from the grueling training on their young bodies. It also doesn't feel right to be watching children in these events. It changes the nature of them---from a recognition of great young adult athletes, to a form of Cirque de Soleil.
It makes rules that create its very structure optional and breaks down the entire system. It makes something dirty of the Olympics. Olympic Athletes give the world hope. If any country arrogantly and blatantly thumbs their nose at the rules, it chips away at that hope, and begs the question, in the end, is this what we are truly about then?
But perhaps the underage girls taken from their homes at 3 to train and that talented child with a world class voice that was siphoned through a cute face, each are meant to be on the world stage to change these practices. And as they are of world class stature, perhaps the world will listen.
Side: Tainting the Olympics
Again, why are we not addressing the question? The question demands proof for the actual use of underage girls, rather than speculation and consequences on the assumption that they are underaged.
On a side note however, who is to say a gift should not be nurtured? If an individual has a gift, what gives you the right to prevent it's expression? If you recall Ian Thorpe, the Australian 400m swimmer, he too won international competitions at the age of 14, becoming the youngest ever individual male world champion at the 1998 Perth World Championships. Who is to say that the talented should be dissqualified?
Because in swimming it is ok to be 14 and swim in the Olympics, it is not ok to be 14 and compete in gymnastics. Those are the rules, regardless of the talent level of the athlete. This rule was set for the health of the athletes, so they say. They IOC is investigating it... we will see what they find out.
Side: Tainting the Olympics
Why not the French are doing it. This gymnast is so young she still wets her gym clothes!!!!
French Gymnast springs a leak (graphics2.snopes.com)
I totally agree that those girls do not appear to be over 16 at all. They must have been fed pretty well to develop the muscles to compete in Olympics. I don't believe what other people say about chinese girls develope later than western girls or poor nutrition in developing country, etc.. Though I don't have proof to support that those girls are in fact under-aged, I would not be surprised if the government officials actually would alter the passport to meet that age requirement to compete. It's a sorry act and I hope the truth will come out some day and their gold medal (if they win) will be striped! Shame shame shame!
Speculating on the possibilities of under aged competition does not add to it. Moreover, I do not believe it is necessarily an environmentally dictated outcome, but rather more genetically based. Indeed, living in Australia, where there is no shortage of nutrients or indeed food itself, there are still many asian girls I personally know of who do not appear their 18 years.
My question is, why would a country with 1.3 billion people specifically pick underage girls when they know they would be scrutinized for it? It just seems like a too great (and unnecessary) risk. The argument for this unproved advantage does not make sense either. How can one's sense of pressure be measured? Everyone knows of China's policy when it comes to winning gold, I'm sure all their athletes have had their fair share of presser. These young gymnasts carry the hopes of their country just as any other competitor, and they've trained all their lives for this moment. Just let them enjoy their achievements.
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