Scandal of the Ages: Trouble at the Beijing Olympics
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What began as whispers among the media and gymnastics insiders weeks ago about the ages of three of China's female Olympic gymnasts -- Jiang Yuyuan, Yang Yilin and He Kexin -- has grown into ear-shattering, head-hurting shouts. Despite assurances by Chinese officials that all three are 16, the minimum age of eligibility for Olympic competition, newly discovered documents and records prove otherwise.
The New York Times first looked into the age of China's gymnasts with a story on July 27 that focused primarily on He Kexin, whose birthdate on numerous online records was listed as January 1, 1994, making her 14 when the Games began and ineligible to compete.
When the world was officially introduced to He Kexin this week, even those unwise to the ways of competitive gymnastics could tell that with He, something was not right. At 4-foot 8-inches tall and weighing 72 pounds, the Beijing native appears significantly younger than most of her Chinese teammates much less her American and European counterparts.