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Chinese Gymnasts – How Young Were They? August 21, 2008

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Chinese Gymnasts won the “women’s” team all around Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. They were led by He Kexin, who also took a Gold Medal in the individual uneven bars. Even as they were competing, there was rampant speculation that He and several of her teammates were “under aged”. The official age minimum set by the International Olympic Committee at the time of the Beijing Olympics was 16.

On August 21, 2008, the New York Times and several other news sources reported that the I.O.C. was launching an official investigation to determine if the Chinese Gymnasts were in fact under aged.

BEIJING — The International Olympic Committee asked the world governing body for gymnastics to investigate whether members of the Chinese women’s team were too young to compete in the Olympics.

The I.O.C. instructed the international gymnastics federation, known as the F.I.G., to take up the issue with the Chinese gymnastics federation and the Chinese Olympic Committee and report back to the I.O.C. later Friday.

The F.I.G. has asked the Chinese for official documents, including birth certificates, of its entire women’s gymnastics team, according to I.O.C. officials. At the start of the Beijing Games, I.O.C. officials said that they had reviewed documentation provided by the Chinese team, and that they were satisfied that the gymnasts met age requirements.
Read more: NY Times

Bela Karolyi, the former coach of Olympic champions Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci, has said repeatedly he believes the Chinese are cheating. Reached at his Texas ranch Friday, he said he hopes the FIG investigates with objectivity.
“My personal opinion is they want to close it without spectacular results,” Karolyi said. “I’m afraid about that. They’re going to end the issue by saying they will investigate. Nothing much will result. But who knows? I can hope.”
Read more: USA Today

Karoli added:
These people think we are stupid…We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this? They are 12, 14 years old and they get lined up and the government backs them and the federation runs away. There is an age limit and it can’t be controlled.

On October 1, 2008, the I.O.C. cleared the Chinese Gymnasts

Ben Johnson Gold Medal Stripped

Five Chinese gymnasts suspected of being underage at the Beijing Olympics have been cleared by the International Gymnastic Federation (FIG).
He Kexin – one of the five – won the women’s uneven bars, pushing Britain’s Beth Tweddle into fourth place.
Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to compete.
In a statement, FIG said it regarded the case as “concluded” but insisted it is still looking at the ages of Chinese gymnasts at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
Read more: BBC

Olympic Controversy, Read More

However, in 2010 a member of the the 2000 Chinese Gymnastics team was determined to be under aged and was stripped of her Bronze Medal.

Many people remember the gold-medal winning Chinese gymnastic team from 2008. Not all of the competitors looked like they were 16, which is the minimum age to participate in the Olympics. In 2000, there was at least one underage gymnast: Dong Fangxiao. Her true age wasn’t discovered until 2008, when she applied to be an official in the Beijing Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just ruled that Dong Fangxiao was underage, and has taken away the Chinese bronze medal. This ruling changes the official Olympic record; at the same time, it also shows that the Chinese gymnasts from 2008 could eventually lose their medals, if they are proven to be underage at a later date. There is a lot of data supporting that they were underage as well; if they are proven underage, history could repeat itself.
Read more: Yahoo Voices

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Usain Bolt Takes Gold,Wins 200, Breaks Record – August 20, 2008

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Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 200 meter sprint at the Olympics in Beijing on August 20, 2008. Running the distance in 19.30 seconds, Bolt broke Michael Johnson’s previous Olympic and World record of 19.32.
Watch the video. He makes it look easy.

Usain Bolt wins gold in 200, breaks record, 2008 Olympics

Usain Bolt wins gold in 200, breaks record, 2008 Olympics
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Michael Phelps Wins 10th and 11th Gold – August 13, 2008

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Records are meant to be broken, but with respect to the record for the most Olympic Gold Medals won by an individual, it might have been more correct to say that “records are meant to be tied”. That’s what the Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina did in 1964 when she won her ninth gold medal in 1964, equaling the record of Paavo Nurmi (“The Flying Finn”) who won his ninth Gold Medal in 1928. Swimmer Mark also Spitz joined the “Nine Gold Club” in 1972, and he was followed by track star Carl Lewis, in 1984.

Then on August 13, 2008, Michael Phelps reminded the world that records really are meant to be broken. On that day in Beijing, Phelps swam his way to his 10th and 11th Olympic Gold Medals.

He started working on his Gold Medal collection at the Athens Olympics in 2004. He bagged six of them there. In Beijing in 2008, Phelps also bested Spitz’s record for most Gold Medals won in a single Olympics. He came home from Beijing with eight. Spitz won seven in Munich, 1972.

By the end of the 2008 Olympics, Phelps had won 15 Gold Medals, but he wasn’t finished. He won three more at London in 2012, running his total up to 18.

BEIJING, Aug. 13 — Perhaps the measure of where Michael Phelps now stands — not only in the history of the Olympics, but in the history of athletics — is that he can pull off an unprecedented feat and have disgust wash over his face. Following his performance Wednesday morning — two more races, two more gold medals, two more world records, cue the yawns — Phelps couldn’t escape the idea that even a swim others couldn’t imagine can be flawed.

“I couldn’t see anything for the last 100” meters, he said. “My goggles pretty much filled up with water.”
Read more: Washington Post

US swimmer Michael Phelps broke the record for Olympic gold medals won by taking his 10th and 11th in a double victory on Wednesday.
Phelps, 23, won his fourth gold of the Beijing Olympics and 10th of all time with victory in the 200m butterfly.
And he claimed yet another gold as part of the US 4x200m freestyle team.
Phelps has now surpassed the nine golds won by Paavo Nurmi, Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz and Larysa Latynina to cement his place in Olympic history.
Read more:BBC

Right before he dove into the pool the morning of Aug. 13, Michael Phelps got a text message from one of his buddies back home. “Dude, it’s ridiculous how many times a day I have to see your ugly face,” it read. At the end, his friend left simple instructions. “It’s time to be the best ever.”

Phelps complied. At the Beijing Water Cube around 10:30AM, Michael Phelps swam two races, and won more gold medals. He broke two more world records, and got himself a new title: the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time.
Read more: Time.com

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