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article imageOlympic Committee Investigates Chinese Gymnastic Gold Medalist's Age

By Susan Duclos     Aug 22, 2008 in World
The International Olympic Committee has asked for an investigation in the age of the Chinese Gymnastic gold medalist, He Kexin, as well as other members of China's gymnastic team after allegations were made which questioned whether Kexin was eligible.
A U.S. blogger named Stryde Hax claimed that he had discovered Chinese state documents that showed that He Kexin was only 14, when 16 is the legal requirement for participation, according to ABC News.
Hax claimed that the documents had been taken offline with only portions left on Google's cache and he alleges he managed to access those documents using Baidu, which is a Chinese search engine.
The Chief Executive of the Olympic Committee sent a letter to the international gymnastics federation also known as FIG, asking that they "review the matter to see if they can't resolve it for the good of the competition, the integrity of the competition and the good of all the athletes."
Beijing Olympics organizing committee spokesman, Wang Wei, asserts that the identity was already established with He Kexin's passport and national identity card, which shows she is 16.
Washington Post reports the U.S. Olympic Committee CEO, Jim Scherr, stated at a press conference, "We believe in fairness for all athletes, and the IOC and the federation for gymnastics should take measures to make sure the issue is put to rest one way or another. We believe the IOC is moving in that direction and we hope they follow through, and hope for a quick resolution."
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the International Gymnastics Federation said it was following up on the IOC's request to examine "claims made in the media" regarding the age of Chinese female gymnasts He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, Li Shanshan, Deng Linlin and Yang Yilin.
The federation noted that it had received documentary evidence, including passports, from the Chinese federation earlier in the year.
"In recent days, additional questions have resurfaced," the statement said, "and in the interests of laying the matter to rest and in response to a request from the International Olympic Committee, the FIG has now asked the Chinese Gymnastics Association to submit further documents testifying to the birthdates of the gymnasts."
The Telegraph is reporting the investigation "appears" to have been postponed because the International Olympic Committee could offer no concrete assurance that the issue would have a prompt conclusion due to their failure to have any concrete evidence proving Kexin's age.
Several US media outlets have uncovered online archives of the General Administration of Sport of China showing Kexin to have been born on January 1 1994, which would make the girl 14 years old.
That information contradicts the information listed on Kexin's national id and passport.
Sceptics also point to a news report published just nine months before the Beijing Olympics by the Chinese government’s Xinhua news agency which gave He’s age as 13. Officials have since dismissed that report, saying Xinhua had never been given her age and made a “mistake”.
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies says, "The information we have received seems satisfactory in terms of the correct documentation - including birth certificates," yet no one can explain the discrepancies between the passports and the older official records uncovered.
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