Advanced search think that no athlete under 16 should compete in the Olympics?

(22 Posts)
choosyfloosy Sat 23-Aug-08 22:39:57

Just watched Tom Daley doing his stuff on the Beeb website. What a performer - his diving was great. But he had a bloody eye twitch, and his swimsuit-straightening had a touch of OCD about it. I just think he is too young to train at that level, never mind compete at it. AIBU?

2shoes Sat 23-Aug-08 22:48:04


Eddas Sat 23-Aug-08 22:57:57

most athletes have routines they go through, swimsuit straightening may just be in his routine.

If he's good enough and dedicated enough at 14 then why not.

he came 7th. You can't argue with the result.

Lots of gymnasts are that age when they compete, they're too old once they get out of their teenage years!!

So I think YABU

JayneF Sat 23-Aug-08 22:59:41

Competing at that level, at whatever age, brings about ritualistic and stress induced behaviours. I think that kids who do compete at ultra high level are incredible both for their raw talent and for their mental ability to deal with competition.

I say give the boy (and all such kids) every chance to pursue their talent!

Octothechildherder Sat 23-Aug-08 23:05:08

I think they are truly amazing and would be totally proud if my child was there. If someone has such brilliant talent they should be able to compete with other athletes of the same ability irrespective of their age.

norksinmywaistband Sat 23-Aug-08 23:26:12

I agree with the OP let them develop their talent in training but don't put them in the media and world spotlight til they are 16+

Mutt Sat 23-Aug-08 23:28:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

3andnomore Sat 23-Aug-08 23:43:17

Hm...mixed emotions about of my favourite sports used to be a young girls sport dispite being called Women's gymnastic...they have raised the agelevel, I believe....and the youngest gymnasts are 16 or almost 16...whereas it used to be 12-13 year olds....
however....gymnastics is obviously a sport that really goes through the body, hence most female gymnasts not getting much past 20 by the time they are finished at that level....

Rythmic Gymnastics seems to be now for over 16 year olds at that level...but again it is sport that will be harsh on your body....

other sports are not like that...and whilst the young can compete, they will be able to compete for so many years to, in a way, if it doesn't harm your body to mcuh why not...but then, if you can do the sport for a long long time...why put it out there that young...

like I in 2 minds...but for what it's worth Tom Daley did really well and he will go far...twitches are down to cncentration and rituals are also down to that, I, that wouldn't worry me...

PinkTulips Sun 24-Aug-08 00:11:08

totally agree, it's too much too young for these kids.

it's not good for their bodies to be pushed so hard while they're still grwoing and it's not good for their mental and emotional development.

14 is a child fgs.

Ashantai Sun 24-Aug-08 00:43:36

My daughter will be 10 in november and a scout from Crystal Palace came round her school a few months ago, looking for suitable future divers.

They only picked a handful of kids and she was one of the ones chosen and is currently enjoying the dry diving. She was watching the olympics and getting excited about representing Britain in 2012! I had to point out that she hadnt even entered the pool yetgrin

She loves the trampolining part of the training and loves to give me demos on our trampoline at home, which frankly i watch from behind my hands! For now she is just having fun, making new friends and enjoying it, but if at any time she's had enough, then i'll be happy for her to call it a day smile

alipiggie Sun 24-Aug-08 01:52:16

Funny how the gymnasts have to be 16 - there's a storm brewing that the Chinese Gymnasts may be under 16, so why can a diver be younger?

KerryMum Sun 24-Aug-08 01:53:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ghosty Sun 24-Aug-08 02:04:23

What on earth is 'dry diving' ... wouldn't that be a bit painful?

KerryMum Sun 24-Aug-08 02:05:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ghosty Sun 24-Aug-08 02:08:18

<snigger @ KM>

reginaphilangy Sun 24-Aug-08 03:53:14


squiffy Sun 24-Aug-08 07:37:21


Tom Daley will have had the time of his life. He will have inspired a shedload of bored tweenagers. He doesn't seem to have been pursued too much by media and he is not doing a sport that is pushing him too far physically. Come 2012 he will then get mobbed I expect, and drowned in expectations. Better to have had a taste now then get swamped in 4 years.

On the other hand, I find the gymnastics thing nauseating on many levels; especially as they appear to be overcoming age barriers by cheating, or by holding devt back artificially. There you can see the kids being forced to 'payback' in performance terms for the investment spent on them. Gross.

Slubberdegullion Sun 24-Aug-08 09:32:06

I have mixed feeling about this too. I think there is always going to be a very fine line between assisting an upcoming athlete/competitor to achieve the best they possibly can and over training them with the possible physical and mental problems that come with that.

I think that for the majority of the events we have seen at the olympics that serious training will have to have started before someone reaches the age of 16. We have to put our faith in the governing bodies and coaches of the respective sports that their paramount concern is for the individual and their physical and mental well being, rather than the possibility of medals.

As to whether that happens all the time, well, I don't know.

Obviously in events that require a phenomenal amount of flexibility (gymnastics, rythmic gymnastics, trampolining, diving etc) the line is going to be even finer as training will have to have started in earnest before the age of 10. The ruling (iirc) that female competitors have to be 16 by the end of this year to compete is presumably an effort to prevent overtraining of very young women.

I wonder if the age limit is not there in the diving because of the reduced physical stresses of this sport compared with the gymnastics. Not sure how old the female divers have to be tbh.

With reagrds to tics and pre event routines, this is very common, in all sports. I remember having a lecture by the Arsenal physio. He said it was an absolute bloody nightmare if he had given a footballer a particular treatment or strapping pre match, and then they went on to score. They would ask for the same thing every single time after that as it was mentally linked to their success.

If you watch the archers or the competitors in the shooting events closely you can see they are doing all sorts of funny little things before they compete. I used to do a bit of archery and I tell you if I cleared my throat before loosing my arrow I always got a better score grin

3andnomore Sun 24-Aug-08 09:55:40

like slubber said, the age limit in gymnastics is down to ensuring that Kids aren't trained to hard to early, as gymnastics places such high demands on the body....most female gymnasts retire quite early....but there are of course some "older" Oksana whatshername, who competed for Germany this year and was 32 already....but that is a rare exception.

Oh, and it would not surprise me, if the chineses, yet again, had sent in to young would not be the first time.
I wonder what that will mean for those that one medals....if they are found to be youbger, I suppose they would be disqualified and loose theyr medals?

Sports like diving will just not place such high demands on a childs, that is probably why no agerules apply....

choosyfloosy Mon 25-Aug-08 21:20:52

thanks for all comments, i enjoyed reading them

i think i have swung back from the pendulum slightly - seeing TD on the diving board was perhaps a shock because he looks SO young, about 12 to me and terribly vulnerable. But he's a great talent and an inspiration for sure.

i am very pro the age limit on gymnastics because leaving aside the obvious physical damage argument, to me the older gymnasts are much better to watch - less speed, more grace. I also approve of the ban on sweep rowing (one oar) under 16 - they can now only scull (two oars) until that age, which reduces a lot of back problems (Matthew Pinsent's back is apparently a mess) and anyway learning to scull first tends to result in better rowing technique. Then seeing little TD up there made me think, well, if gymnastics have made a formal age limit because children can get around spins etc faster and are at risk of exploitation, what about other sports?

Not sure what I think now but thanks again for comments.

cafebistro Mon 25-Aug-08 21:23:49

If they're up to the challenge physically and mentally then it would be unfair not to allow them to compete just because of their age.

TheSmallClanger Tue 26-Aug-08 17:17:20

I'm in two minds about this, but more on the side of age limits. Allowing very young teenagers to compete at the highest level encourages over-training at an age when their bones are still growing and fusing very rapidly. Psychologically, adolescents can be very vulnerable, too - one case that particularly shocked me was a Bulgarian tennis player of 15 who was banned for drug-taking - really frightening. She was obviously in no position to argue with whoever insisted she took the drugs and has suffered as a consequence.
True talent does not disappear overnight and, I think, is better harnessed when the athlete is emotionally mature enough to deal with it. The only needling doubt I have about age limits is if someone is injured before coming of age and the anguish that would cause.

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