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Olympics - who watched the women's gymnastics?

(19 Posts)
Earlybird Wed 13-Aug-08 15:46:22

Apparently there is a rule that the women should be at least 16 years of age in order to compete.

There is absolutely no way the women on the Chinese team were 16, even though they've got passports that say they are. One of them was even missing a tooth!

alardi Wed 13-Aug-08 18:58:06

Why 16? Nadia Comaneci was such a phenomenom. You're not the only one with concerns, though (see).

southeastastra Wed 13-Aug-08 18:59:21

the chinese girl looked about 9

AllieBongo Wed 13-Aug-08 19:00:31

they were babies. they put blue eyeshadow on them to make them look older

LIZS Wed 13-Aug-08 19:02:46

Apparently previous documentation for competitions has suggested they are at least 2 years younger hmm There were concerns over hothousing immature bodies which is why the age was raised a few years back.

Katisha Wed 13-Aug-08 19:10:35

The thing that mystifies me about women's gymnastics is why they are required to do all that coquettish prancing and flicking and waving in their routines, when they are top athletes and shouldn't have to make themselves look like flirty teenagers (even if they are.)

To me it looks awkward when they are doing some big floor routine and they are doing their little dancey twiddly bits (which to me are not artistic, but generally twee) then they suddenly stop, concentrate, look fierce and launch into some fearsome sequence of somersaults. Then it's back to the prancing and flicking...

The men don't have to do it...

End of rant.

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 13-Aug-08 19:12:30

I agree I don't think those girls were 14 never mind 16. I have a 14 year old and none of her friends look that prepubescent.

Earlybird Thu 14-Aug-08 03:07:47

So, the general concensus from the media is that at least 3 of the Chinese gymnasts are most likely 14 years old, and not the required 16 years of age.

Interesting fact from the end of the article linked by alardi:

'America's gymnasts nearly 9cm taller and around 13.5kg heavier than their Chinese rivals on average....'

Fascinating that Olympic officials make urine testing for banned substances such a priority, and yet - there isn't any way to prove age eligibility is there?

Piffle Thu 14-Aug-08 13:55:52

the rule is that they must turn 16 in 2008 not that they must be 16.
Even taking into account differences attributable to racial bodytype they do look very young. But I do think the rules are silly for some sports. As demonstrated by the supreme skill of the Chinese gymastics team.
I did high level gymnastics til age 14 I then chose horse riding as boob development seriously affected my performances.

Earlybird Thu 14-Aug-08 18:34:26

Have been reading today's news reports that suggest that half the Chinese women's team is potentially underage, and therefore should not be eligible to compete.

No question - they were astonishing though.

Miggsie Thu 14-Aug-08 18:40:14

The little one definitely looked about 12.
None of them had any hint of boobs...

The men gymnasts are men, not boys I notice...

Earlybird Thu 14-Aug-08 19:31:52

Have heard in the past of female gymnasts being given vitamins/drugs(?) to delay the onset of puberty - because body fat, breasts, hips etc make it much more difficult to do the routines.

Wonder if that is still done, and if those sorts of 'treatments' are illegal under the drug testing rules....

Piffle Thu 14-Aug-08 22:15:09

are the Chinese women in general quite petite and not possessing of norkage? - realise this vaguely generalising but even their swimmers look about 10 and tiny and usually swimmers are quite erm strapping so to speak...
And their gorgeous archer gold medallist today, so petite as to be barely there

edam Thu 14-Aug-08 22:18:52

I know plenty of Chinese women who have fine norks, as it happens!

There is something very wrong about a 'sport' that makes such a fetish of a prepubescent appearance. Why have a sport for women that demands you have no breasts or hips? Very, very troubling.

Piffle Thu 14-Aug-08 22:23:09

it does not demand it per se
the demands of the sport, the vaults, tumbles and balance elements are so much easier to a young slim frame.
gymnastics is a notable proof of this it has always been the young girls who have excelled, the top Us girl Shawn Johnson is just 16 the girl who is 20 was the one who made all the errors today for the US

Im not saying its right or wrong, maybe it should be different, but that means fundamental changes to the sport.
Tennis players too? they are equally pushed and driven from an early age

edam Thu 14-Aug-08 22:25:21

But you can play tennis at the very highest level as an adult. It would appear in gymnastics you can't, unless you are a man. Something very wrong there.

Piffle Thu 14-Aug-08 22:39:14

in both cases all have been doing it from a very young age, no one picks up a racquet aged 17 and suddenly turns into a champ.
and age 20 for a female gymnast is old.
is it right?
How would you change it?

I have a relative who is taken to swimming tourneys all over the UK, he is 3rd fastest for his age (12) in the country
He really prefers football but is "better" at swimming...
He is being targetted for 2012, he is in serious training and under a lot of pressure and expectation.

Other countries view sporting achievement and drive in such a different way as well.

Also re the mens gymnastics, becuase it is strength based with boys developing later in life and not peaking at gym until after age 18 when muscles start to build.

So many issues to think about, I guess...
Makes me glad my first 2 kids have ZERO interest or ability in sport tbh

Earlybird Thu 14-Aug-08 22:55:54

I have read that some coaches prefer younger female gymnasts to compete for the physical and mental advantages.

The younger girls are seen as being far more'fearless' and risk-taking because they have not generally experienced serious injury or failure, and are too immature to feel the same weight of pressure/expectation/nerves.

hanaflower Thu 14-Aug-08 23:11:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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